IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/eee/jeborg/v99y2014icp126-154.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

Gender differences in risk aversion: Do single-sex environments affect their development?

Author

Listed:
  • Booth, Alison
  • Cardona-Sosa, Lina
  • Nolen, Patrick

Abstract

Single-sex classes within coeducational environments are likely to modify students’ risk-taking attitudes in economically important ways. To test this, we designed a controlled experiment using first year college students who made choices over real-stakes lotteries at two distinct dates. Students were randomly assigned to weekly classes of three types: all female, all male, and coeducational. They were not allowed to change group subsequently. We found that women are less likely to make risky choices than men at both dates. However, after eight weeks in a single-sex class environment, women were significantly more likely to choose the lottery than their counterparts in coeducational groups. These results are robust to the inclusion of controls for IQ and for personality type, as well as to a number of sensitivity tests. Our findings suggest that observed gender differences in behaviour under uncertainty found in previous studies might partly reflect social learning rather than inherent gender traits.

Suggested Citation

  • Booth, Alison & Cardona-Sosa, Lina & Nolen, Patrick, 2014. "Gender differences in risk aversion: Do single-sex environments affect their development?," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 99(C), pages 126-154.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jeborg:v:99:y:2014:i:c:p:126-154
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jebo.2013.12.017
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0167268113003156
    Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

    File URL: https://libkey.io/10.1016/j.jebo.2013.12.017?utm_source=ideas
    LibKey link: if access is restricted and if your library uses this service, LibKey will redirect you to where you can use your library subscription to access this item
    ---><---

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version below or search for a different version of it.

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Thomas Dohmen & Armin Falk & David Huffman & Uwe Sunde, 2010. "Are Risk Aversion and Impatience Related to Cognitive Ability?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(3), pages 1238-1260, June.
    2. Wiji Arulampalam & Alison L. Booth & Mark L. Bryan, 2007. "Is There a Glass Ceiling over Europe? Exploring the Gender Pay Gap across the Wage Distribution," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 60(2), pages 163-186, January.
    3. Nabanita Datta Gupta & Anders Poulsen & Marie Claire Villeval, 2005. "Male and Female Competitive Behavior: Experimental," Post-Print halshs-00175039, HAL.
    4. Bertrand, Marianne, 2011. "New Perspectives on Gender," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 4, chapter 17, pages 1543-1590, Elsevier.
    5. Alison L. Booth & Patrick Nolen, 2012. "Gender differences in risk behaviour: does nurture matter?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 122(558), pages 56-78, February.
    6. Hans-Martin Gaudecker & Arthur Soest & Erik Wengström, 2012. "Experts in experiments," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 45(2), pages 159-190, October.
    7. Uri Gneezy & Muriel Niederle & Aldo Rustichini, 2003. "Performance in Competitive Environments: Gender Differences," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 118(3), pages 1049-1074.
    8. Uri Gneezy & Kenneth L. Leonard & John A. List, 2009. "Gender Differences in Competition: Evidence From a Matrilineal and a Patriarchal Society," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 77(5), pages 1637-1664, September.
    9. Maier, Johannes & Rüger, Maximilian, 2010. "Measuring Risk Aversion Model-Independently," Discussion Papers in Economics 11873, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
    10. Francine D. Blau & Lawrence M. Kahn, 2006. "The U.S. Gender Pay Gap in the 1990S: Slowing Convergence," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 60(1), pages 45-66, October.
    11. Glenn W. Harrison & John A. List, 2004. "Field Experiments," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 42(4), pages 1009-1055, December.
    12. Nabanita Datta Gupta & Anders Poulsen & Marie Claire Villeval, 2005. "Male and Female Competitive Behavior - Experimental Evidence," Post-Print halshs-00180022, HAL.
    13. Eckel, Catherine C. & Grossman, Philip J., 2008. "Men, Women and Risk Aversion: Experimental Evidence," Handbook of Experimental Economics Results, in: Charles R. Plott & Vernon L. Smith (ed.), Handbook of Experimental Economics Results, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 113, pages 1061-1073, Elsevier.
    14. Burks, Stephen V. & Carpenter, Jeffrey P. & Götte, Lorenz & Rustichini, Aldo, 2008. "Cognitive Skills Explain Economic Preferences, Strategic Behavior, and Job Attachment," IZA Discussion Papers 3609, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    15. William Harbaugh & Kate Krause & Lise Vesterlund, 2002. "Risk Attitudes of Children and Adults: Choices Over Small and Large Probability Gains and Losses," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 5(1), pages 53-84, June.
    16. von Gaudecker, H.M. & van Soest, A.H.O. & Wengstrom, E., 2008. "Selection and Mode Effects in Risk Preference Elicitation Experiments," Discussion Paper 2008-11, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
    17. Roland G. Fryer & Steven D. Levitt, 2010. "An Empirical Analysis of the Gender Gap in Mathematics," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 2(2), pages 210-240, April.
    18. Marianne Bertrand & Kevin F. Hallock, 2001. "The Gender Gap in Top Corporate Jobs," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 55(1), pages 3-21, October.
    19. Uri Gneezy & John A List, 2006. "Putting Behavioral Economics to Work: Testing for Gift Exchange in Labor Markets Using Field Experiments," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 74(5), pages 1365-1384, September.
    20. Glenn W. Harrison & Morten I. Lau & E. Elisabet Rutström, 2007. "Estimating Risk Attitudes in Denmark: A Field Experiment," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 109(2), pages 341-368, June.
    21. 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.
    22. Uri Gneezy & Aldo Rustichini, 2004. "Gender and Competition at a Young Age," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(2), pages 377-381, May.
    23. Booth, Alison & Nolen, Patrick, 2012. "Salience, risky choices and gender," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 117(2), pages 517-520.
    24. Muriel Niederle & Lise Vesterlund, 2007. "Do Women Shy Away From Competition? Do Men Compete Too Much?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 122(3), pages 1067-1101.
    25. Charness, Gary & Kuhn, Peter, 2011. "Lab Labor: What Can Labor Economists Learn from the Lab?," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 4, chapter 3, pages 229-330, Elsevier.
    26. Charles A. Holt & Susan K. Laury, 2002. "Risk Aversion and Incentive Effects," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(5), pages 1644-1655, December.
    27. Nabanita Datta Gupta & Anders Poulsen & Marie Claire Villeval, 2006. "Male and Female Competitive Behavior," Post-Print halshs-00175475, HAL.
    28. Steffen Andersen & Glenn Harrison & Morten Lau & E. Rutström, 2009. "Elicitation using multiple price list formats," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 12(3), pages 365-366, September.
    29. Muriel Niederle & Alexandra H. Yestrumskas, 2008. "Gender Differences in Seeking Challenges: The Role of Institutions," NBER Working Papers 13922, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    30. repec:pri:indrel:dsp01gb19f581g is not listed on IDEAS
    31. Rachel Croson & Uri Gneezy, 2009. "Gender Differences in Preferences," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 47(2), pages 448-474, June.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Bertrand, Marianne, 2011. "New Perspectives on Gender," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 4, chapter 17, pages 1543-1590, Elsevier.
    2. Booth, Alison & Nolen, Patrick, 2012. "Choosing to compete: How different are girls and boys?," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 81(2), pages 542-555.
    3. Alison L. Booth & Patrick Nolen, 2012. "Gender differences in risk behaviour: does nurture matter?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 122(558), pages 56-78, February.
    4. Azmat, Ghazala & Petrongolo, Barbara, 2014. "Gender and the labor market: What have we learned from field and lab experiments?," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(C), pages 32-40.
    5. Josse Delfgaauw & Robert Dur & Joeri Sol & Willem Verbeke, 2013. "Tournament Incentives in the Field: Gender Differences in the Workplace," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 31(2), pages 305-326.
    6. Becchetti, Leonardo & Degli Antoni, Giacomo & Ottone, Stefania & Solferino, Nazaria, 2013. "Allocation criteria under task performance: The gendered preference for protection," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 45(C), pages 96-111.
    7. Booth, Alison L., 2009. "Gender and competition," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 16(6), pages 599-606, December.
    8. Della Giusta, Marina & Di Girolamo, Amalia, 2018. "Have your cake and eat it too: real effort and risk aversion in schoolchildren," MPRA Paper 89528, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    9. Boschini, Anne & Dreber, Anna & von Essen, Emma & Muren, Astri & Ranehill, Eva, 2019. "Gender, risk preferences and willingness to compete in a random sample of the Swedish population✰," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 83(C).
    10. Khachatryan, Karen & Dreber, Anna & von Essen, Emma & Ranehill, Eva, 2015. "Gender and preferences at a young age: Evidence from Armenia," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 118(C), pages 318-332.
    11. Clot, Sophie & Della Giusta, Marina & Razzu, Giovanni, 2020. "Gender Gaps in Competition: New Experimental Evidence from UK Professionals," IZA Discussion Papers 13323, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    12. Bordón, Paola & Canals, Catalina & Mizala, Alejandra, 2020. "The gender gap in college major choice in Chile," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 77(C).
    13. Anna Dreber & Emma Essen & Eva Ranehill, 2014. "Gender and competition in adolescence: task matters," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 17(1), pages 154-172, March.
    14. Cárdenas, Juan-Camilo & Dreber, Anna & von Essen, Emma & Ranehill, Eva, 2012. "Gender differences in competitiveness and risk taking: Comparing children in Colombia and Sweden," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 83(1), pages 11-23.
    15. Sophie Clot & Marina Della Giusta & Giovanni Razzu, 2020. "Gender gaps in competition: new experimental evidence from UK," Economics Discussion Papers em-dp2020-15, Department of Economics, University of Reading.
    16. Cueva, Carlos & Rustichini, Aldo, 2015. "Is financial instability male-driven? Gender and cognitive skills in experimental asset markets," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 119(C), pages 330-344.
    17. Jetter, Michael & Walker, Jay K., 2018. "The gender of opponents: Explaining gender differences in performance and risk-taking?," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 109(C), pages 238-256.
    18. Migheli, Matteo, 2010. "Gender at work: Productivity and incentives," POLIS Working Papers 142, Institute of Public Policy and Public Choice - POLIS.
    19. Masclet, David & Peterle, Emmanuel & Larribeau, Sophie, 2015. "Gender differences in tournament and flat-wage schemes: An experimental study," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 47(C), pages 103-115.
    20. David Masclet & Emmanuel Peterle & Sophie Larribeau, 2012. "Gender Differences in Competitive and Non Competitive Environments: An Experimental Evidence," Economics Working Paper Archive (University of Rennes 1 & University of Caen) 201236, Center for Research in Economics and Management (CREM), University of Rennes 1, University of Caen and CNRS.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Gender; Risk preferences; Single-sex groups; Cognitive ability; coeducation; gender identity;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • C9 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments
    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
    • C92 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Group Behavior
    • J16 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination
    • D01 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Microeconomic Behavior: Underlying Principles
    • D80 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - General
    • J16 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:jeborg:v:99:y:2014:i:c:p:126-154. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: . General contact details of provider: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/jebo .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: Catherine Liu (email available below). General contact details of provider: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/jebo .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.