Dr. Rigdon’s research on the gender wage gap published in PNAS

Nov. 1, 2021

Dr. Rigdon’s research on the gender difference in competitiveness and the wage gap has been published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Her research with Dr. Cassar (Professor of Economics, University of San Francisco) investigates one possible reason behind the finding that women display a lower desire to compete than men in laboratory experiments. The work is motivated by the idea that females – at least in certain contexts – can be as competitive as males, yet they exhibit it differently (see Cassar & Rigdon (2021) for a more detailed account). We advance the hypothesis that women, rather than having a lower desire to compete, are motivated to respond to the prosocial nature of the incentives, as a reflection of their different evolutionary and cultural constraints. We design an experiment to test this hypothesis, and demonstrate that with prosocial incentives women reveal their competitive nature. The research was supported from a grant from the National Science Foundation.