Dr. Rigdon’s joint work with Dr. Cassar has appeared in Evolution and Human Behavior, “Option to cooperate increases women’s competitiveness and closes the gender gap”. They advance the hypothesis that women are as competitive as men once the incentive for winning includes factors that matter to women. Allowing winners an opportunity to share some of their winnings with the low performers has gendered consequences for competitive behavior. A 26% gender gap in performance vanishes once a sharing option is included to an otherwise identical winner-take-all incentive scheme. Besides providing a novel experiment that challenges the paradigm that women are not as motivated to compete as men, their work proposes some suggestions for policy: including socially-oriented rewards to contracts may offer a novel tool to close the persistent labor market gender gap.
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