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Performance uncertainty and the level of female participation on tournaments

Project description

What makes a female want to complete in a tournament?

Research has shown that men and women respond differently when provided with the opportunity to compete, with women found to be less willing. The Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA) GAPINCOMPETITION project aims to shed light on the conditions under which females become more competitive. In the ‘outgoing phase’, the project will examine how the decision to enter a tournament differs across genders, particularly when there is awareness of their own and the competitor’s skills. In the ‘ingoing phase’, the project will investigate what it would take, in terms of skills differences, to encourage females to enter a tournament. Project work can help increase the number of females in the competitive positions.


In business life, academics, nonprofits, and politics, it is commonly observed that women enter competitive positions less often than men. This may stem mainly from two facts: 1) Women do not prefer competitive environments; 2) They are discriminated against in competitive environments. The literature starting from Niederle and Vesterlund (2007) focuses on the first fact. Niederle and Vesterlund (2007) show that although there is no performance difference between men and women, women prefer competitive environments less often than men. The aim of this project is to understand the (information) conditions under which females become more competitive. The promise of the project is important because it may be possible to increase the number of females in the competitive positions with a proper information design. In this project, I plan to use a similar set up to rank-order tournaments, i.e. performance is the sum of effort (transformation of skill) and chance. In the outgoing phase, I aim to understand how tournament entry decision differ across genders when subjects know both their own and their competitors’ skills but they have different types of information about the chance component: one being that the chance component is drawn from a known distribution (uncertainty), the other one being that it is drawn from an unknown distribution (ambiguity). This part of the project will be carried out in UCSD under the supervision of Prof. Uri Gneezy. I will then return to METU to continue the project for 12 months under the supervision of Prof. Serkan Kucuksenel. In the incoming phase, I aim to understand what should be the skill differences for males and females to encourage (discourage) females (males) to enter tournament by knowing that they have higher (lower) skill than males (females). Through the proposed research, I will be able to work with leading scholars in behavioral economics and my research agenda will advance with the help of new connections and skills.

Funding Scheme



Net EU contribution
€ 171 521,28
Dumlupinar bulvari 1
06800 Ankara

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Batı Anadolu Ankara Ankara
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
EU contribution
No data

Partners (1)