“Marrying for height” (with Pierre-Andre Chiappori, Yu Yang, Junsen Zhang).
Abundant empirical evidence shows a gender wage gap in favor of men across countries and time periods. Evidence of women’s lower competitiveness, based on a lower willingness to compete in laboratory labor experiments, has been proposed as a contributing factor to this gender wage gap. However, because of the traditional division of labor within households, women's competitiveness may not be expressed only in their own labor market performance. Rather, their competitiveness may also be expressed in the labor market performance of their spouse. We surveyed top graduate business students in China for their level of traditional gender identity (GI) and subjective expectations about their own and future spouse’s salary, work hours, and fertility. We use an all-pay auction experiment to derive a measure of competitiveness from the revealed psychological value of winning. Women anticipate a higher-earning spouse. Their competitiveness and GI increase their expected spousal wage gap. The effect of competitiveness on their own work hours depends on their GI: competitiveness increases own expected work hours for low-GI women GI but decreases for high-GI women. Furthermore, we show that anticipated fertility does not by itself decrease women’s labor supply, as might be expected based on prior studies, but only for women with high GI. [OD1] Thus, GI and competitiveness are potential moderating factors of subjective expectations that anticipate the gender wage gap ex-ante to labor and marriage market outcomes.
“The Gender Difference in Mixed Strategy Nash Equilibrium Play” (with Gahye (Rosalyn) Jeon)
The mixed strategy Nash equilibrium (MNE) is a well-established concept in theory, but empirical and experimental support has been hampered by the need for a large sample size for across-subject choices and serial correlation for within-subject choices. We overcome these difficulties in testing for MNE play by exploiting a previously developed comparative statics effect for a common value pairwise all-pay auction which, strikingly, predicts that bids increase on perceived opponent’s risk tolerance, but not on the bidder’s own. Men bid as predicted, but women’s bids respond neither to their own nor to the opponent’s risk tolerance. Additionally, while the significance of men’s response to their beliefs about their opponent’s risk tolerance increases with the absence of mistakes on a pre-experiment quiz, women’s lack of response is unaffected by their quiz performance. These results are consistent with a prior finding of a gender difference in MNE play with a large sample of professional tennis players. We contribute by showing that MNE play can be tested with an ordinary sample of subjects in a laboratory setting. We show a gender difference in a factor that is likely crucial in most competitive situations: perceptions of the opponent’s risk tolerance.