Competition and Gender in the Lab vs Field: Experiments from Off-Grid Renewable Energy Entrepreneurs in Rural Rwanda

Citation:

Klege, Rebecca A., and Martine Visser. 2020. “Competition and Gender in the Lab vs Field: Experiments from Off-Grid Renewable Energy Entrepreneurs in Rural Rwanda.” ERSA Working Paper 806, Economic Research Southern Africa, University of Cape Town.

Authors: Rebecca A. Klege, Martine Visser

Abstract:

Applications of lab experiments to real-world phenomenon are limited. We fill the gap by examining how gender attitudes and performance under competitive situations in the lab, reflects microenterprise outcomes in the renewable energy sector of Rwanda. — a country with progressive gender policies despite its traditional patriarchal set-up. We use the standard Niederle and Vesterlund (2007) experimental design in addition to a unique dataset from off-grid microenterprises, managed by entrepreneurs who have been working in mixed and single-sex teams since 2016. Our findings show that the gender composition of teams does not affect decisions to compete in the lab. Instead returns to education and risk-taking are more valuable to single-sex teams than for mixed gender teams. We also show that under competitive situations, women perform as well as men. Findings from the field strongly support findings in the lab that female-owned enterprises do not underperform in competitive settings, which corroborates the external validity of our lab results. Given that lab and field findings suggest no significant differentials in terms of competitiveness or performance of females, there exist ample scope to increase women involvement in the renewable energy sector of Rwanda. 

Keywords: competition, gender differences, entrepreneurs, performance, renewable energy

Topics: Economies, Education, Gendered Power Relations, Patriarchy, Infrastructure, Energy Regions: Africa, Central Africa, East Africa Countries: Rwanda

Year: 2020

© 2020 CONSORTIUM ON GENDER, SECURITY & HUMAN RIGHTSLEGAL STATEMENT All photographs used on this site, and any materials posted on it, are the property of their respective owners, and are used by permission. Photographs: The images used on the site may not be downloaded, used, or reproduced in any way without the permission of the owner of the image. Materials: Visitors to the site are welcome to peruse the materials posted for their own research or for educational purposes. These materials, whether the property of the Consortium or of another, may only be reproduced with the permission of the owner of the material. This website contains copyrighted materials. The Consortium believes that any use of copyrighted material on this site is both permissive and in accordance with the Fair Use doctrine of 17 U.S.C. § 107. If, however, you believe that your intellectual property rights have been violated, please contact the Consortium at info@genderandsecurity.org.