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

Listed author(s):
  • Alison L. Booth

    ()

  • Lina Cardona-Sosa

    ()

  • Patrick Nolen

    ()

Single-sex classes within coeducational environments are likely to modify students' risktaking 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.

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Paper provided by BANCO DE LA REPÚBLICA in its series BORRADORES DE ECONOMIA with number 010988.

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Length: 64
Date of creation: 28 Oct 2013
Handle: RePEc:col:000094:010988
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  1. Catherine C. Eckel & Philip J. Grossman, 2008. "Sex and Risk: Experimental Evidence," Monash Economics Working Papers archive-09, Monash University, Department of Economics.
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  5. Booth, Alison L & Nolen, Patrick, 2009. "Gender Differences in Risk Behaviour: Does Nurture Matter?," CEPR Discussion Papers 7198, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  6. Booth, Alison & Nolen, Patrick, 2012. "Salience, risky choices and gender," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 117(2), pages 517-520.
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  13. 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.
  14. Datta Gupta, Nabanita & Poulsen, Anders & Villeval, Marie Claire, 2005. "Male and Female Competitive Behavior: Experimental Evidence," IZA Discussion Papers 1833, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
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  24. Maier, Johannes & Rüger, Maximilian, 2010. "Measuring Risk Aversion Model-Independently," Discussion Papers in Economics 11873, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
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  29. repec:esx:essedp:672 is not listed on IDEAS
  30. 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.
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