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Ambiguity and Gender Differences in Financial Decision Making: An Experimental Examination of Competence and Confidence Effects

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    Abstract

    This paper reports the results of an experiment that brings together psychological measures of competence and overconfidence with laboratory economic measures of individual valuations of uncertainty. We examine the valuations of risky and ambiguous lotteries in a financial decision context. The experiment can be viewed in two parts. The first part replicates an experimental design reported by Heath and Tversky (1991) but within a financial market context. This part produces two measures: 1) competence, the perception of feeling knowledgeable or competent in an area and 2) overconfidence, the well documented result that many individuals overestimate their ability. These measures, together with an indicator of objective knowledge, were used to explain elicited certainty equivalents in the second part of the experiment. Certainty equivalents were elicited for lotteries that were contingent on the price movements of real stock and bond funds, the price changes of simulated virtual funds, and pure risk lotteries. These represent three different levels of uncertainty: two-sided ambiguity, one-sided ambiguity and pure risk. Our results show a significant relationship between individual overconfidence and competence measures and elicited values of lotteries in a financial decision context. Further, the interaction of overconfidence, competence and knowledge measures with gender produce nearly opposite effects.

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    File URL: http://www.cer.ethz.ch/research/wp_02_23_paper.pdf
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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by CER-ETH - Center of Economic Research (CER-ETH) at ETH Zurich in its series CER-ETH Economics working paper series with number 02/23.

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    Length: 26 pages
    Date of creation: May 2002
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    Handle: RePEc:eth:wpswif:02-23

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    Related research

    Keywords: risk; ambiguity; overconfidence; gender; financial decision making; economic experiments;

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    1. Kruse, Jamie Brown & Thompson, Mark A., 2003. "Valuing low probability risk: survey and experimental evidence," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 50(4), pages 495-505, April.
    2. Matthew Rabin, 1998. "Psychology and Economics," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 36(1), pages 11-46, March.
    3. Brad M. Barber & Terrance Odean, 2001. "Boys Will Be Boys: Gender, Overconfidence, And Common Stock Investment," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 116(1), pages 261-292, February.
    4. Sunden, Annika E & Surette, Brian J, 1998. "Gender Differences in the Allocation of Assets in Retirement Savings Plans," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(2), pages 207-11, May.
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    17. Renate Schubert, 1999. "Financial Decision-Making: Are Women Really More Risk-Averse?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(2), pages 381-385, May.
    18. Fox, Craig R & Tversky, Amos, 1995. "Ambiguity Aversion and Comparative Ignorance," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 110(3), pages 585-603, August.
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    Cited by:
    1. Bruno Biais & Denis Hilton & Karine Mazurier & Sébastien Pouget, 2005. "Judgemental Overconfidence, Self-Monitoring, and Trading Performance in an Experimental Financial Market," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 72(2), pages 287-312.
    2. Bird, Ron & Yeung, Danny, 2012. "How do investors react under uncertainty?," Pacific-Basin Finance Journal, Elsevier, vol. 20(2), pages 310-327.
    3. Gerlinde Fellner & Boris Maciejovsky, . "Risk Attitude and Market Behavior: Evidence from Experimental Asset Markets," Papers on Strategic Interaction 2002-34, Max Planck Institute of Economics, Strategic Interaction Group.
    4. Helga Fehr-Duda & Manuele Gennaro & Renate Schubert, 2006. "Gender, Financial Risk, and Probability Weights," Theory and Decision, Springer, vol. 60(2), pages 283-313, 05.
    5. Brink, Siegrun & Kriwoluzky, Silke & Bijedic, Teita & Ettl, Kerstin & Welter, Friederike, 2014. "Gender, Innovation und Unternehmensentwicklung," IfM-Materialien 228, Institut für Mittelstandsforschung (IfM) Bonn.
    6. Megan Endres, 2006. "The Effectiveness of Assigned Goals in Complex Financial Decision Making and the Importance of Gender," Theory and Decision, Springer, vol. 61(2), pages 129-157, 09.
    7. Philip J. Grossman & Mana Komai & James E. Jensen, 2012. "Leadership and Gender in Groups: An Experiment," Development Research Unit Working Paper Series 42-12, Monash University, Department of Economics.
    8. Michailova, Julija, 2010. "Overconfidence, risk aversion and (economic) behavior of individual traders in experimental asset markets," MPRA Paper 26390, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    9. Arcidiacono, Davide, 2011. "Consumer rationality in a multidisciplinary perspective," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 40(5), pages 516-522.

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