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

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  • Booth, Alison L
  • Cardona Sosa, Lina
  • Nolen, Patrick

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 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 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 behaviour under uncertainty found in previous studies might partly reflect social learning rather than inherent gender traits.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 8690.

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Date of creation: Dec 2011
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:8690

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Keywords: cognitive ability; gender; risk preferences; single-sex groups;

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References

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Citations

Blog mentions

As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
  1. 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
  2. Gender, science & stereotypes
    by chris dillow in Stumbling and Mumbling on 2012-05-19 12:26:39
  3. 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. Massimo Anelli & Giovanni Peri, 2013. "Gender of Siblings and Choice of College Major," CESifo Working Paper Series 4529, CESifo Group Munich.
  2. Fisher, Paul, 2014. "British Tax Credit Simplification, the Intra- household Distribution of Income and Family Consumption," ISER Working Paper Series 2014-13, Institute for Social and Economic Research.
  3. Barbara Liberda & Joanna Tyrowicz & Magdalena Smyk, 2013. "Age-productivity patterns in talent occupations for men and women: a decomposition," Working Papers 2013-27, Faculty of Economic Sciences, University of Warsaw.
  4. Booth, Alison L. & Nolen, Patrick J., 2012. "Salience, Risky Choices and Gender," IZA Discussion Papers 6400, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  5. Rampino, Tina & Taylor, Mark P., 2013. "Gender differences in educational aspirations and attitudes," ISER Working Paper Series 2013-15, Institute for Social and Economic Research.
  6. 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 0896, Institute of Social and Economic Research, Osaka University.

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