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Gender Differences in Risk Aversion: Do Single-Sex Environments Affect their Development?

Author

Listed:
  • Alison L. Booth

    ()

  • Lina Cardona-Sosa

    ()

  • Patrick Nolen

    ()

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 behavior under uncertainty found in previous studies might partly reflect social learning rather than inherent gender traits.

Suggested Citation

  • Alison L. Booth & Lina Cardona-Sosa & Patrick Nolen, 2013. "Gender Differences in Risk Aversion: Do Single-Sex Environments Affect their Development?," Borradores de Economia 786, Banco de la Republica de Colombia.
  • Handle: RePEc:bdr:borrec:786
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Crosetto, P. & Filippin, A., 2017. "Safe options induce gender differences in risk attitudes," Working Papers 2017-05, Grenoble Applied Economics Laboratory (GAEL).
    2. Paul Fisher, 2016. "British tax credit simplification, the intra-household distribution of income and family consumption," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 68(2), pages 444-464.
    3. Susanne Link, 2012. "Single-Sex Schooling and Student Performance: Quasi-Experimental Evidence from South Korea," ifo Working Paper Series 146, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich.
    4. Magdalena Smyk & Joanna Tyrowicz & Barbara Liberda, 2014. "Age-productivity patterns in talent occupations for men and women: a decomposition," Post-Communist Economies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 26(3), pages 401-414, September.
    5. Jetter, Michael & Walker, Jay K., 2017. "Gender Differences in Competitiveness and Risk-Taking among Children, Teenagers, and College Students: Evidence from Jeopardy!," IZA Discussion Papers 11201, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    6. Booth, Alison L., 2016. "Gender in economics: A story in the making," Economic Analysis and Policy, Elsevier, vol. 51(C), pages 122-129.
    7. Rampino, Tina & Taylor, Mark P., 2013. "Gender differences in educational aspirations and attitudes," ISER Working Paper Series 2013-15, Institute for Social and Economic Research.
    8. Favara, Marta, 2012. "The Cost of Acting "Girly": Gender Stereotypes and Educational Choices," IZA Discussion Papers 7037, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    9. Booth, Alison & Nolen, Patrick, 2012. "Salience, risky choices and gender," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 117(2), pages 517-520.
    10. 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.
    11. Alison L. Booth & Pamela Katic, 2013. "Cognitive Skills, Gender and Risk Preferences," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 89(284), pages 19-30, March.
    12. Susanne Link, 2013. "Institutional Determinants of Student Achievement - Microeconometric Evidence," ifo Beiträge zur Wirtschaftsforschung, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, number 50, April.
    13. Massimo Anelli & Giovanni Peri, 2013. "Gender of Siblings and Choice of College Major," CESifo Working Paper Series 4529, CESifo Group Munich.
    14. Humlum, Maria Knoth & Nandrup, Anne Brink & Smith, Nina, 2017. "Closing or Reproducing the Gender Gap? Parental Transmission, Social Norms and Education Choice," IZA Discussion Papers 10790, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    15. Chuang, Yating & Schechter, Laura, 2015. "Stability of experimental and survey measures of risk, time, and social preferences: A review and some new results," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 117(C), pages 151-170.
    16. Hiroko Okudaira & Yusuke Kinari & Noriko Mizutani & Fumio Ohtake & Akira Kawaguchi, 2014. "Older Sisters and Younger Brothers: The Impact of Siblings on Preference for Competition," ISER Discussion Paper 0896, Institute of Social and Economic Research, Osaka University.
    17. Moshe Justman & Susan J. Méndez, 2016. "Gendered Selection of STEM Subjects for Matriculation," Melbourne Institute Working Paper Series wp2016n10, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, The University of Melbourne.
    18. P Simmons (York) & N Tantisantiwong (Southampton), 2014. "Default and Risk Premia in Microfinance Group Lending," Discussion Papers 14/28, Department of Economics, University of York.
    19. Jetter, Michael & Walker, Jay K., 2016. "Gender in Jeopardy!: The Role of Opponent Gender in High-Stakes Competition," IZA Discussion Papers 9669, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    20. Chris Ryan, 2016. "The Attitudes of Boys and Girls towards Science and Mathematics as They Progress through School in Australia," Melbourne Institute Working Paper Series wp2016n24, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, The University of Melbourne.
    21. Cools, Angela & Patacchini, Eleonora, 2017. "Sibling Gender Composition and Women's Wages," IZA Discussion Papers 11001, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Gender; risk preferences; single-sex groups; cognitive ability. Classification JEL: C9; C91; C92; J16; D01; D80; J16; J24;

    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

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