September 2009

IZA DP No. 4395: Tournament Incentives in the Field: Gender Differences in the Workplace

revised version published in: Journal of Labor Economics, 2013, 31 (2) , 305-326

We ran a field experiment in a Dutch retail chain consisting of 128 stores. In a random sample of these stores, we introduced short-term sales competitions among subsets of stores. We find that sales competitions have a large effect on sales growth, but only in stores where the store's manager and a large fraction of the employees have the same gender. Remarkably, results are alike for sales competitions with and without monetary rewards, suggesting a high symbolic value of winning a tournament. Lastly, despite the substantial variation in team size, we find no evidence for free-riding.