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

  • Ertac, Seda
  • Gurdal, Mehmet Y.

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.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization.

Volume (Year): 83 (2012)
Issue (Month): 1 ()
Pages: 24-30

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Handle: RePEc:eee:jeborg:v:83:y:2012:i:1:p:24-30
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/jebo

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  1. 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.
  2. Ronald J. Baker II & Susan K. Laury & Arlington W. Williams, 2007. "Comparing Small-Group and Individual Behavior in Lottery-Choice Experiments," Caepr Working Papers 2007-018, Center for Applied Economics and Policy Research, Economics Department, Indiana University Bloomington.
  3. Gneezy, Uri & Potters, Jan, 1997. "An Experiment on Risk Taking and Evaluation Periods," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 112(2), pages 631-45, May.
  4. John List & Kenneth Leonard & Uri Gneezy, 2009. "Gender differences in competition: Evidence from a matrilineal and a patriarchal society," Artefactual Field Experiments 00049, The Field Experiments Website.
  5. Robert S. Shupp & Arlington Williams, 2003. "Risk Preference Differentials of Small Groups and Individuals," Working Papers 200301, Ball State University, Department of Economics, revised Apr 2006.
  6. Eckel, Catherine C. & Grossman, Philip J., 2008. "Men, Women and Risk Aversion: Experimental Evidence," Handbook of Experimental Economics Results, Elsevier.
  7. Dinky Daruvala, 2007. "Gender, risk and stereotypes," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 35(3), pages 265-283, December.
  8. Rachel Croson & Uri Gneezy, 2009. "Gender Differences in Preferences," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 47(2), pages 448-74, June.
  9. Masclet, David & Colombier, Nathalie & Denant-Boemont, Laurent & Lohéac, Youenn, 2009. "Group and individual risk preferences: A lottery-choice experiment with self-employed and salaried workers," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 70(3), pages 470-484, June.
  10. Uri Gneezy & Muriel Niederle & Aldo Rustichini, 2003. "Performance In Competitive Environments: Gender Differences," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 118(3), pages 1049-1074, August.
  11. Matthias Sutter, 2009. "Individual Behavior and Group Membership: Comment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(5), pages 2247-57, December.
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  13. repec:ner:tilbur:urn:nbn:nl:ui:12-73908 is not listed on IDEAS
  14. Kristoffer Eriksen & Ola Kvaløy, 2010. "Do financial advisors exhibit myopic loss aversion?," Financial Markets and Portfolio Management, Springer, vol. 24(2), pages 159-170, June.
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