women, competition, followup

A few good follow-up conversations about the “women and competition” story, two posts down.
Sunir wondered about whether the study reveals cultural bias in favor of single-winner competition.
Just one recent example: Joi Ito’s post about Japanese reaction to the hostages in Iraq and ideas about individualism vs group identity in Japanese culture.
Peter comments that the preference for competition vs. co-operation doesn’t line up neatly on a gender axis.
(Which is my beef with difference feminism; gender is an illustrative lens to examine human differences, but one of many; gender differences are real, but reflect averages across the population, and don’t determine individual behavior).
The more that I think about it, the real, detectable underlying bias here is that of the University of Chicago, the affiliation of the study’s lead author. The Chicago school of economics applies the mathematical and experimental techniques of economics to “prove” how the rational, individualistic incentives of “homo economicus” apply to everyday social life. Debatable philosophical assumptions about human nature are baked into the premises of the studies, and the outcomes confirm the premises.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *