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Gender Differences in Risk Behaviour: Does Nurture Matter?

Booth, AL and Nolen, PJ (2009) Gender Differences in Risk Behaviour: Does Nurture Matter? UNSPECIFIED. IZA Discussion Papers 4026.

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Abstract

Women and men may differ in their propensity to choose a risky outcome because of innate preferences or because their innate preferences are modified by pressure to conform to gender-stereotypes. Single-sex environments are likely to modify students' risk-taking preferences in economically important ways. To test this, our controlled experiment gave subjects an opportunity to choose a risky outcome − a real-stakes gamble with a higher expected monetary value than the alternative outcome with a certain payoff − and in which the sensitivity of observed risk choices to environmental factors could be explored. The results show that girls from single-sex schools are as likely to choose the real-stakes gamble as much as boys from either coed or single sex schools, and more likely than coed girls. Moreover, gender differences in preferences for risk-taking are sensitive to the gender mix of the experimental group, with girls being more likely to choose risky outcomes when assigned to all-girl groups. This suggests that observed gender differences in behaviour under uncertainty found in previous studies might reflect social learning rather than inherent gender traits.

Item Type: Monograph (UNSPECIFIED)
Uncontrolled Keywords: risk aversion; controlled experiment; gender identity; risk attitudes
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HB Economic Theory
Divisions: Faculty of Social Sciences > Economics, Department of
Depositing User: Jim Jamieson
Date Deposited: 17 Jul 2012 11:34
Last Modified: 12 Jan 2018 08:15
URI: http://repository.essex.ac.uk/id/eprint/2906

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