Standard observed characteristics explain only part of the differences between men and women in human capital investments and labor market trajectories. Using survey data on labor market expectations, combined with experimentally derived measures of individuals' competitiveness, this paper investigates whether gender differences in competitiveness play a role in gender differences in perceived labor market outcomes. In a sample of high-ability NYU undergraduates, we first find that, even controlling for risk preferences, performance, and beliefs about relative performance, women are significantly less competitive than men. We find that measured competitiveness is systematically related with expectations about future earnings: Over(under)- competitive individuals have significantly higher (lower) earnings expectations. Conditional on college major, gender differences in competitiveness explain 5-10.5 percent of the perceived gender gap in earnings in our sample. Gender differences in competitiveness, however, are not related with choice of college major.
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