Gender Differences in Revenge and Strategic play: A Natural Experiment (with Emma Heikensten and Siri Isaksson)

This paper provides new evidence of gender differences in retaliatory behavior. Using game show data from a natural setting where stakes are high, we ask whether men are more likely to retaliate following an attack and whether the gender of the target matters for this decision. The behavior studied in this paper is the decision of whom to send the question to in a quiz show setting. We observe a 23 percent gender gap in the propensity to retaliate: women are less likely to seek revenge. The gender of the target matters for women but not for men, with women being more likely to retaliate against men than women. In addition, we show that retaliation is a successful way to avert future attacks in the short term. This is especially true for women, yet we find that women seek less revenge than men.