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The Lehman Sisters hypothesis

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  • Irene van Staveren

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Irene van Staveren, 2014. "The Lehman Sisters hypothesis," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 38(5), pages 995-1014.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:cambje:v:38:y:2014:i:5:p:995-1014.
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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1093/cje/beu010
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    References listed on IDEAS

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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, pages 129-144.
    2. Irene van Staveren, 2013. "Caring Finance Practices," Journal of Economic Issues, Taylor & Francis Journals, pages 419-426.
    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. Cotton, Christopher & McIntyre, Frank & Price, Joseph, 2013. "Gender differences in repeated competition: Evidence from school math contests," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, 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, August.
    6. Thomas J. Holmes & John J. Stevens, 2010. "An alternative theory of the plant size distribution with an application to trade," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2010-30, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    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, pages 241-250.
    8. van der Wijst,Nico, 2013. "Finance," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9781107029224, December.
    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, 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, pages 766-775.
    11. Veronica Guerrieri & Peter Kondor, 2012. "Fund Managers, Career Concerns, and Asset Price Volatility," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, pages 1986-2017.
    12. Frankenhaeuser, Marianne, 1996. "Stress and Gender," European Review, Cambridge University Press, pages 313-327.
    13. Gerdes, Christer & Gränsmark, Patrik, 2010. "Strategic behavior across gender: A comparison of female and male expert chess players," Labour Economics, Elsevier, pages 766-775.
    14. Rachel Croson & Uri Gneezy, 2009. "Gender Differences in Preferences," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, pages 448-474.
    15. 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, pages 127-139.
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    Cited by:

    1. Volker Ziemann, 2015. "Towards more gender equality in Austria," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 1273, OECD Publishing.
    2. repec:kap:jbuset:v:142:y:2017:i:2:d:10.1007_s10551-015-2759-1 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Gang-Zhi Fan & Zsuzsa R. Huszar & Weina Zhang, 2016. "The Helping Hand of the State in Chinese Real Estate Firms: Anti-corruption and Liberalization," International Real Estate Review, Asian Real Estate Society, pages 51-97.
    4. Joanna Tyrowicz & Jakub Mazurek, 2017. "All on board? New evidence on board gender diversity from a large panel of firms," GRAPE Working Papers 5, GRAPE Group for Research in Applied Economics.
    5. repec:eee:ecosys:v:41:y:2017:i:1:p:109-121 is not listed on IDEAS

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