Can policy change competitive preferences? This study uses controlled lab settings to compare the gender gap in competitive inclination in ethnic groups exposed and exempted from communist institutional reforms that have radically changed the lives of women in China in the areas of marriage, education, work, and fertility. Results suggest that exogenously imposed reforms may increase female competitive inclination, although they do not eliminate the gender gap in all cultural contexts. Potential confounding factors are minimised through random selection of subjects from the same high school, resulting in similarity across ethnic groups in demographics, socioeconomic status, and academic performance.
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