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Gender Differences in Risk Aversion and Ambiguity Aversion

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Author Info

  • Borghans Lex
  • Golsteyn Bart
  • Heckman James
  • Meijers Huub

    (ROA rm)

Abstract

This paper demonstrates gender differences in risk aversion and ambiguityaversion. It also contributes to a growing literature relating economic preferenceparameters to psychological measures by asking whether variations in preferenceparameters among persons, and in particular across genders, can be accounted forby differences in personality traits and traits of cognition. Women are more riskaverse than men. Over an initial range, women require no further compensationfor the introduction of ambiguity but men do. At greater levels of ambiguity,women have the same marginal distaste for increased ambiguity as men.Psychological variables account for some of the interpersonal variation in riskaversion. They explain none of the differences in ambiguity.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Maastricht University, Research Centre for Education and the Labour Market (ROA) in its series ROA Research Memorandum with number 005.

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Date of creation: 2009
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Handle: RePEc:unm:umaror:2009005

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Keywords: education; training and the labour market;

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  1. Daniel J. Benjamin & Sebastian A. Brown & Jesse M. Shapiro, 2006. "Who is “Behavioral”? Cognitive Ability and Anomalous Preferences," Levine's Working Paper Archive 122247000000001334, David K. Levine.
  2. David K. Backus & Bryan R. Routledge & Stanley E. Zin, 2005. "Exotic Preferences for Macroeconomists," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 2004, Volume 19, pages 319-414 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Dohmen Thomas & Falk Armin & Huffman David & Sunde Uwe, 2009. "Are Risk Aversion and Impatience Related to Cognitive Ability?," ROA Research Memorandum 007, Maastricht University, Research Centre for Education and the Labour Market (ROA).
  4. Lars Peter Hansen, 2007. "Beliefs, Doubts and Learning: Valuing Economic Risk," NBER Working Papers 12948, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. 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.
  6. Lex Borghans & Angela Lee Duckworth & James J. Heckman & Bas ter Weel, 2008. "The Economics and Psychology of Personality Traits," NBER Working Papers 13810, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Yoram Halevy, 2007. "Ellsberg Revisited: An Experimental Study," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 75(2), pages 503-536, 03.
  8. Hartog, Joop & Ferrer-i-Carbonell, Ada & Jonker, Nicole, 2002. "Linking Measured Risk Aversion to Individual Characteristics," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 55(1), pages 3-26.
  9. Lars Peter Hansen, 2007. "Beliefs, Doubts and Learning: Valuing Macroeconomic Risk," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(2), pages 1-30, May.
  10. Powell, Melanie & Ansic, David, 1997. "Gender differences in risk behaviour in financial decision-making: An experimental analysis," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 18(6), pages 605-628, November.
  11. Julie R. Agnew & Lisa R. Anderson & Jeffrey R. Gerlach & Lisa R. Szykman, 2008. "Who Chooses Annuities? An Experimental Investigation of the Role of Gender, Framing, and Defaults," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(2), pages 418-22, May.
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