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Deciding to decide: Gender, leadership and risk-taking in groups

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  • Ertac, Seda
  • Gurdal, Mehmet Y.

Abstract

Being the leader in a group often involves making risky decisions that affect the payoffs of all members, and the decision to take this responsibility in a group is endogenous in many contexts. In this paper, we experimentally study: (1) the willingness of men and women to make risky decisions on behalf of a group, (2) the amount of risk men and women take for the group, in comparison to their individual decisions. We observe a striking difference between males and females, with a much lower fraction of women being willing to make the group decision than men. The amount of risk taken for the group is generally lower than in the case where subjects decide for themselves only, indicating a cautious shift. The women that would like to make the group decision and the women that do not are no different in terms of how much risk they take for themselves, nor for their group. For men, on the other hand, we find that the ones who would like to lead tend to take more risk on behalf of the group.

Suggested Citation

  • Ertac, Seda & Gurdal, Mehmet Y., 2012. "Deciding to decide: Gender, leadership and risk-taking in groups," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 83(1), pages 24-30.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jeborg:v:83:y:2012:i:1:p:24-30
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jebo.2011.06.009
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Gender; Group decision-making; Risk; Leadership; Experiments;

    JEL classification:

    • C90 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - General
    • C92 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Group Behavior
    • D70 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - General
    • D81 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Criteria for Decision-Making under Risk and Uncertainty

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