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  • Marco Castillo

    ()
    (Interdisciplinary Center for Economic Science and Department of Economics, George Mason University)

  • Gregory Leo

    ()
    (Department of Economics, University of California, Santa Barbara)

  • Ragan Petrie

    ()
    (Interdisciplinary Center for Economic Science and Department of Economics, George Mason University)

Abstract

We present clean evidence of a direct social context effect on behavior in a laboratory experiment: the gender composition of the room significantly alters the risk decisions of subjects even when the actions or presence of others are neither payoff nor information relevant. Our design is such that subjects do not know the decisions of others, nor can they be inferred. We find that women become more risk taking as the proportion of men in the group increases. This is most consistent with women imitating the expected behavior of others in the session. Our results imply that aggregate behavior is not a simple extrapolation of individual preferences. Groups might have more extreme behavior than the average individual. Length: 27

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by George Mason University, Interdisciplinary Center for Economic Science in its series Working Papers with number 1040.

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Date of creation: Apr 2013
Date of revision: Apr 2013
Handle: RePEc:gms:wpaper:1040

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Keywords: gender; context effect; risk aversion; experiment;

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References

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  1. Ariel Rubinstein, 2006. "Instinctive and Cognitive Reasoning: A Study of Response Times," Discussion Papers 1424, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  2. Michi Kandori, 2010. "Social Norms and Community Enforcement," Levine's Working Paper Archive 630, David K. Levine.
  3. Sushil Bikhchandani & David Hirshleifer & Ivo Welch, 2010. "A theory of Fads, Fashion, Custom and cultural change as informational Cascades," Levine's Working Paper Archive 1193, David K. Levine.
  4. Booth, Alison L. & Nolen, Patrick, 2009. "Gender Differences in Risk Behaviour: Does Nurture Matter?," CEPR Discussion Papers 7198, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  5. Charness, Gary & Gneezy, Uri, 2008. "What's in a name? Anonymity and social distance in dictator and ultimatum games," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 68(1), pages 29-35, October.
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  9. Muriel Niederle & Lise Vesterlund, 2005. "Do Women Shy Away From Competition? Do Men Compete Too Much?," NBER Working Papers 11474, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Bruno S. Frey & Iris Bohnet, 1999. "Social Distance and Other-Regarding Behavior in Dictator Games: Comment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(1), pages 335-339, March.
  11. Charles F. Manski, 2000. "Economic Analysis of Social Interactions," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 14(3), pages 115-136, Summer.
  12. Esther Duflo & Emmanuel Saez, 2002. "The Role of Information and Social Interactions in Retirement Plan Decisions: Evidence from a Randomized Experiment," NBER Working Papers 8885, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Banerjee, Abhijit V, 1992. "A Simple Model of Herd Behavior," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 107(3), pages 797-817, August.
  14. Lindquist, Gabriella Sjögren & Säve-Söderbergh, Jenny, 2011. ""Girls will be Girls", especially among Boys: Risk-taking in the "Daily Double" on Jeopardy," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 112(2), pages 158-160, August.
  15. 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.
  16. Ingrid Rohde & Kirsten Rohde, 2011. "Risk attitudes in a social context," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 43(3), pages 205-225, December.
  17. Eckel, Catherine C & Grossman, Philip J, 2001. "Chivalry and Solidarity in Ultimatum Games," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 39(2), pages 171-88, April.
  18. Welch, Ivo, 1992. " Sequential Sales, Learning, and Cascades," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 47(2), pages 695-732, June.
  19. Daniel Kahneman, 2003. "Maps of Bounded Rationality: Psychology for Behavioral Economics," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(5), pages 1449-1475, December.
  20. Sushil Bikhchandani & David Hirshleifer & Ivo Welch, 1998. "Learning from the Behavior of Others: Conformity, Fads, and Informational Cascades," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 12(3), pages 151-170, Summer.
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