Unité mixte de recherche 7235

Gender Identity and Competition : A Virtual Reality Experiment

Intervenant : Nina Rapoport (Paris 1/PSE)

The study of gender differences in competitiveness has been a widely explored topic in experimental economics, with a focus on its contribution to the gender wage gap. Recent research in psychology has employed virtual reality (VR) to manipulate individuals’ embodiment in bodies with different characteristics, including gender. This has been shown to alter the perception of the self, with participants who underwent a ‘gender swap’ via VR identifying more with the opposite gender and exhibiting self-attribution of traits stereotypically associated with that gender, such as competitiveness. To test whether these self-reported results on attitudes extend to behavior, I examine the impact of such a virtual “gender swap” on selection into competitive environments in the lab. Although the VR intervention impacted several secondary outcomes, including overconfidence, it did not have a significant effect on the gender gap in tournament selection. The results have implications for the study of embodiment interventions and gender differences in competition.


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