Gender differences in the effect of subjective feedback in an online game. Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics.

Lovász A., Cukrowska-Torzewska E., Rigó Mariann, Szabó-Morvai Ágnes

We test for gender differences in the impact of subjective feedback, using an online game with randomized treatment in the form of pop-up texts and graphics. We estimate the impact of giving encouragement or praise on performance (score, accuracy) and persistence (number of games played). We find some evidence of gender differences: while praise has little impact, encouragement has a positive impact on the persistence and performance of females and a negative impact on the performance of males. These are driven by those with low task-related confidence. The findings suggest that giving more individualized feedback – such as encouragement to females with low task-related confidence – can potentially improve gender equality, especially in traditionally male fields.

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