Wanting to Control

Alessandra Cassar (University of San Francisco)
Mary Rigdon (Rutgers University)

Abstract : We advance the hypothesis that women are not less competitive than men once experimental games include factors that matter to women. We contend that when choosing how much effort to exert in highly rewarding but risky environments, cash prizes are not the only factor that motivates individuals to compete and allowing the winners to express some prosociality towards the losers has gendered consequence on individual competitiveness. An experiment conducted online confirms our hypothesis: adding an element of prosociality where top performers earn the right to control how to split the prize between winners and losers significantly increases female performance to levels indistinguishable from males, whose performance stays unchanged.

Flexible Work Arrangements for Mothers

Astrid Kunze (Norwegian School of Economics)
Xingfei Liu (University of Alberta)

Abstract : Flexible work arrangements are of increasing importance, but we still have little systematic evidence on the question whether these are primarily set by the employers or by the employees. We shed new light on this question by examining the effect of an expansionary universal childcare reform on mothers’ take up of work that includes non-ordinary work hours; that is the contract includes regularly shift work, evening and night work, Saturday and Sunday work. We find that mothers increase the take up of non-ordinary work arrangements, and this is a shortterm effect of the reform. The increase is entirely driven by mothers who work relatively long hours, more than 30 hours per week. The average response is more pronounced for women after maternity leave. We interpret these results as showing novel evidence supporting the hypothesis that the marginal take-up of non-ordinary hours is driven by labour supply factors.

Matrilineal Kinship and Spousal Cooperation: Evidence from the Matrilineal Belt

Sara Lowes (Stanford University)

Abstract : I examine how matrilineal relative to patrilineal kinship systems affect spousal cooperation. In matrilineal kinship systems, lineage and inheritance are traced through women. The structure of matrilineal kinship systems implies that, relative to patrilineal kinship systems, women have greater support from their own kin groups, and husbands have less authority over their wives. I use experimental and physiological measures and a geographic regression discontinuity design along the matrilineal belt in Africa to test how kinship systems affect spousal cooperation. Men and women from matrilineal ethnic groups cooperate less with their spouses in a lab experiment. This is not the case when paired with a stranger of the opposite sex. I examine the implications of matrilineal kinship for the well-being of women and children. Children of matrilineal women are healthier and better educated, and matrilineal women experience less domestic violence. The results highlight how household outcomes are tied to broader social structures.