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The power of stereotyping and confirmation bias to overwhelm accurate assessment: the case of economics, gender, and risk aversion

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  • Julie A. Nelson

Abstract

Behavioral research has revealed how normal human cognitive processes can tend to lead us astray. But do these affect economic researchers, ourselves? This article explores the consequences of stereotyping and confirmation bias using a sample of published articles from the economics literature on gender and risk aversion. The results demonstrate that the supposedly 'robust' claim that 'women are more risk averse than men' is far less empirically supported than has been claimed. The questions of how these cognitive biases arise and why they have such power are discussed, and methodological practices that may help to attenuate these biases are outlined.

Suggested Citation

  • Julie A. Nelson, 2014. "The power of stereotyping and confirmation bias to overwhelm accurate assessment: the case of economics, gender, and risk aversion," Journal of Economic Methodology, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 21(3), pages 211-231, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:jecmet:v:21:y:2014:i:3:p:211-231
    DOI: 10.1080/1350178X.2014.939691
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Julie A. Nelson, 2015. "Are Women Really More Risk-Averse Than Men? A Re-Analysis Of The Literature Using Expanded Methods," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 29(3), pages 566-585, July.
    2. Beblo Miriam, 2016. "Eswaran, Mukesh: Why Gender Matters in Economics, Winner of the 2015 PROSE Award in Textbook/Social Sciences," Journal of Economics and Statistics (Jahrbuecher fuer Nationaloekonomie und Statistik), De Gruyter, vol. 236(4), pages 529-531, August.
    3. Julie A. Nelson, 2016. "Male Is a Gender, Too: A Review of Why Gender Matters in Economics by Mukesh Eswaran," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 54(4), pages 1362-1376, December.
    4. Bosworth, Steven J. & Clot, Sophie & Della Giusta, Marina, 2019. "DIY or Ask Someone Nice?," IZA Discussion Papers 12406, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    5. repec:eee:touman:v:52:y:2016:i:c:p:440-450 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Sophie Clot & Marina Della Giusta & Amalia Di Girolamo, 2018. "Keep Calm and Carry on: Gender Differences in Endurance," Economics & Management Discussion Papers em-dp2018-03, Henley Business School, Reading University.
    7. Altug Yalcintas & Isil Sirin Selcuk, 2016. "Research Ethics Education in Economics," Review of Social Economy, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 74(1), pages 53-74, March.

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