A GENDER, WILLINGNESS TO COMPETE AND CAREER CHOICES ALONG THE WHOLE ABILITY DISTRIBUTION*
Prof. Dr. Stefan C. Wolter and his colleagues study the relationship between gender, willingness to compete and career choices in a setting that includes individuals from the whole ability distribution and career options covering the whole range of skill requirements. They collect incentivized experimental choices from more than 1500 Swiss lower-secondary school students and relate them to their choice of post-compulsory education. This enables them to investigate two novel questions: 1. How does the gender gap in willingness to compete vary with ability? 2. Can willingness to compete predict choices between career options that cover the whole range of skill requirements, including choices between different types of vocational education and the choice between vocational and academic education? Their main results are: 1. The gender gap in willingness to compete is small among the lowest-ability students, but increases steadily with ability and is largest for the highest-ability students. 2. Willingness to compete predicts choices both of academic specializations and of vocational careers. Finally, Prof. Dr. Wolter and his colleagues combine these two results to analyze their implications for their understanding of gender differences in career choices at different skill requirement levels.
* joint workwith Prof. Dr. Thomas Buser, University of Amsterdam and Prof. Dr. Noemi Peter, University of Groningen