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The Lehman Sisters hypothesis

Listed author(s):
  • Irene van Staveren

This article explores the Lehman Sisters hypothesis. It reviews empirical literature about gender differences in behavioural, experimental and neuro-economics as well as in other fields of behavioural research. It discusses gender differences along three dimensions of financial behaviour: risk aversion and response to uncertainty, ethics and moral attitudes, and leadership. The article argues that gender stereotypes are influential in finance, constraining women to achieve top positions in banking and sustaining a strong masculine culture. At the same time the analysis indicates that the few women who make it to the top tend to perform on average better than men, in particular under uncertainty. This is explained by a combination of gender beliefs, gender stereotypes, gender identity and flexible biological processes. Although further research is necessary, the existing empirical literature would support a plea for having more rather than fewer women in financial trade, risk management and at the top of the financial sector.

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File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1093/cje/beu010
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Article provided by Oxford University Press in its journal Cambridge Journal of Economics.

Volume (Year): 38 (2014)
Issue (Month): 5 ()
Pages: 995-1014

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Handle: RePEc:oup:cambje:v:38:y:2014:i:5:p:995-1014.
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  1. Muriel Niederle & Lise Vesterlund, 2010. "Explaining the Gender Gap in Math Test Scores: The Role of Competition," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 24(2), pages 129-144, Spring.
  2. Irene van Staveren, 2013. "Caring Finance Practices," Journal of Economic Issues, M.E. Sharpe, Inc., vol. 47(2), pages 419-426, June.
  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, 02.
  4. Cotton, Christopher & McIntyre, Frank & Price, Joseph, 2013. "Gender differences in repeated competition: Evidence from school math contests," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 86(C), pages 52-66.
  5. Daniela Beckmann & Lukas Menkhoff, 2008. "Will Women Be Women? Analyzing the Gender Difference among Financial Experts," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 61(3), pages 364-384, 08.
  6. Veronica Guerrieri & Peter Kondor, 2012. "Fund Managers, Career Concerns, and Asset Price Volatility," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 102(5), pages 1986-2017, August.
  7. Ricardo F. Crespo & Irene van Staveren, 2011. "Would we have had this crisis if women had been running the financial sector?," Journal of Sustainable Finance & Investment, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 1(3-4), pages 241-250, October.
  8. van der Wijst,Nico, 2013. "Finance," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9781107029224, September.
  9. Brad M. Barber & Terrance Odean, 2001. "Boys will be Boys: Gender, Overconfidence, and Common Stock Investment," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 116(1), pages 261-292.
  10. Gerdes, Christer & Gränsmark, Patrik, 2010. "Strategic behavior across gender: A comparison of female and male expert chess players," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(5), pages 766-775, October.
  11. Frankenhaeuser, Marianne, 1996. "Stress and Gender," European Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 4(04), pages 313-327, October.
  12. Rachel Croson & Uri Gneezy, 2009. "Gender Differences in Preferences," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 47(2), pages 448-474, June.
  13. Brown, Kelly M. & Taylor, Laura O., 2000. "Do as you say, say as you do: evidence on gender differences in actual and stated contributions to public goods," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 43(1), pages 127-139, September.
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