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Gender Differences in Risk Aversion: Do Single-Sex Environments Affect their Development?

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  • Alison L. Booth

    ()

  • Lina Cardona-Sosa

    ()

  • Patrick Nolen

    ()

Abstract

Single-sex classes within coeducational environments are likely to modify students' risk-taking attitudes in economically important ways. To test this, we designed a controlled experiment using first year college students who made choices over real-stakes lotteries at two distinct dates. Students were randomly assigned to weekly classes of three types: all female, all male, and coeducational. They were not allowed to change group subsequently. We found that women are less likely to make risky choices than men at both dates. However, after eight weeks in a single-sex class environment, women were significantly more likely to choose the lottery than their counterparts in coeducational groups. These results are robust to the inclusion of controls for IQ and for personality type, as well as to a number of sensitivity tests. Our findings suggest that observed gender differences in behavior under uncertainty found in previous studies might partly reflect social learning rather than inherent gender traits.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Banco de la Republica de Colombia in its series Borradores de Economia with number 786.

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Length: 83
Date of creation: Oct 2013
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:bdr:borrec:786

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Related research

Keywords: Gender; risk preferences; single-sex groups; cognitive ability. Classification JEL: C9; C91; C92; J16; D01; D80; J16; J24;

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References

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  1. Uri Gneezy & John A List, 2006. "Putting Behavioral Economics to Work: Testing for Gift Exchange in Labor Markets Using Field Experiments," Econometrica, Econometric Society, Econometric Society, vol. 74(5), pages 1365-1384, 09.
  2. Gaudecker, Hans-Martin von & van Soest, Arthur & Wengström, Erik, 2011. "Experts in Experiments: How Selection Matters for Estimated Distributions of Risk Preferences," IZA Discussion Papers 5575, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  3. Eckel, Catherine C. & Grossman, Philip J., 2008. "Men, Women and Risk Aversion: Experimental Evidence," Handbook of Experimental Economics Results, Elsevier, Elsevier.
  4. Francine Blau & Lawrence M. Kahn, 2006. "The US Gender Pay Gap in the 1990s: Slowing Convergence," Working Papers, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section. 887, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
  5. Booth, Alison & Nolen, Patrick, 2012. "Salience, risky choices and gender," Economics Letters, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 117(2), pages 517-520.
  6. William Harbaugh & Kate Krause & Lise Vesterlund, 2002. "Risk attitudes of children and adults: Choices over small and large probability gains and losses," Artefactual Field Experiments, The Field Experiments Website 00055, The Field Experiments Website.
  7. Uri Gneezy & Kenneth L. Leonard & John A. List, 2008. "Gender Differences in Competition: Evidence from a Matrilineal and a Patriarchal Society," NBER Working Papers 13727, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  9. Wiji Arulampalam & Alison L. Booth & Mark L. Bryan, 2007. "Is There a Glass Ceiling over Europe? Exploring the Gender Pay Gap across the Wage Distribution," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 60(2), pages 163-186, January.
  10. Dohmen, Thomas J & Falk, Armin & Huffman, David & Sunde, Uwe, 2008. "Are Risk Aversion and Impatience Related to Cognitive Ability?," CEPR Discussion Papers, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers 6852, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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  20. Muriel Niederle & Alexandra H. Yestrumskas, 2008. "Gender Differences in Seeking Challenges: The Role of Institutions," NBER Working Papers 13922, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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Citations

Blog mentions

As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
  1. The referendum, & risk attitudes
    by chris dillow in Stumbling and Mumbling on 2014-09-12 12:27:19
  2. Gender Differences in Risk Aversion: Do Single-Sex Environments Affect their Development?
    by Alessandro Cerboni in Knowledge Team on 2014-05-31 21:15:16
  3. Gender, science & stereotypes
    by chris dillow in Stumbling and Mumbling on 2012-05-19 12:26:39
  4. boys and girls in the classroom
    by René Böheim in Econ Tidbits on 2013-02-23 08:20:00
Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
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Cited by:
  1. Booth, Alison L & Nolen, Patrick, 2012. "Salience, Risky Choices and Gender," CEPR Discussion Papers, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers 8868, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. Barbara Liberda & Joanna Tyrowicz & Magdalena Smyk, 2013. "Age-productivity patterns in talent occupations for men and women: a decomposition," Working Papers, Faculty of Economic Sciences, University of Warsaw 2013-27, Faculty of Economic Sciences, University of Warsaw.
  3. repec:ese:iserwp:2014-13 is not listed on IDEAS
  4. repec:ese:iserwp:2013-15 is not listed on IDEAS
  5. Hiroko Okudaira & Yusuke Kinari & Noriko Mizutani & Fumio Ohtake & Akira Kawaguchi, 2014. "Older Sisters and Younger Brothers: The Impact of Siblings on Preference for Competition," ISER Discussion Paper, Institute of Social and Economic Research, Osaka University 0896, Institute of Social and Economic Research, Osaka University.
  6. Massimo Anelli & Giovanni Peri, 2013. "Gender of Siblings and Choice of College Major," CESifo Working Paper Series 4529, CESifo Group Munich.

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