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Female Babies and Risk-Aversion

Author

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  • Pogrebna, Ganna

    () (University of Warwick)

  • Oswald, Andrew J.

    () (University of Warwick)

  • Haig, David

    () (Harvard University)

Abstract

Being told the sex of your unborn child is a major exogenous 'shock'. In the first study of its kind, we collect before-and-after data from hospital wards. We test for the causal effects of learning child gender upon people's degree of risk-aversion. Using a standard Holt-Laury criterion, the parents of daughters, whether unborn or recently born, are shown to be almost twice as risk-averse as parents of sons. The study demonstrates this in longitudinal ('switching') data and cross-sectional data. The study finds it for fathers and mothers, babies in the womb and recently born children, and for a West European nation and an East European nation.

Suggested Citation

  • Pogrebna, Ganna & Oswald, Andrew J. & Haig, David, 2017. "Female Babies and Risk-Aversion," IZA Discussion Papers 10717, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp10717
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Catherine C. Eckel & Philip J. Grossman, 2002. "Sex Differences and Statistical Stereotyping in Attitudes Toward Financial Risk," Monash Economics Working Papers archive-03, Monash University, Department of Economics.
    2. Thomas Dohmen & Armin Falk & David Huffman & Uwe Sunde & Jürgen Schupp & Gert G. Wagner, 2011. "Individual Risk Attitudes: Measurement, Determinants, And Behavioral Consequences," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 9(3), pages 522-550, June.
    3. Andrew J. Oswald & Nattavudh Powdthavee, 2010. "Daughters and Left-Wing Voting," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 92(2), pages 213-227, May.
    4. Dwyer, Peggy D. & Gilkeson, James H. & List, John A., 2002. "Gender differences in revealed risk taking: evidence from mutual fund investors," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 76(2), pages 151-158, July.
    5. Shang-Jin Wei & Xiaobo Zhang, 2011. "The Competitive Saving Motive: Evidence from Rising Sex Ratios and Savings Rates in China," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 119(3), pages 511-564.
    6. Gordon B. Dahl & Enrico Moretti, 2008. "The Demand for Sons," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 75(4), pages 1085-1120.
    7. 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.
    8. Antonio Filippin & Paolo Crosetto, 2016. "A Reconsideration of Gender Differences in Risk Attitudes," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 62(11), pages 3138-3160, November.
    9. Ebonya L. Washington, 2008. "Female Socialization: How Daughters Affect Their Legislator Fathers," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(1), pages 311-332, March.
    10. Chew, Soo Hong & Yi, Junjian & Zhang, Junsen & Zhong, Songfa, 2017. "Risk Aversion and Son Preference: Experimental Evidence from Chinese Twin Parents," IZA Discussion Papers 10519, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    11. Reuben, Ernesto & Rey-Biel, Pedro & Sapienza, Paola & Zingales, Luigi, 2012. "The emergence of male leadership in competitive environments," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 83(1), pages 111-117.
    12. Charles A. Holt & Susan K. Laury, 2002. "Risk Aversion and Incentive Effects," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(5), pages 1644-1655, December.
    13. Shelly Lundberg & Elaina Rose, 2003. "Child gender and the transition to marriage," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 40(2), pages 333-349, May.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    pregnancy; risk attitudes; daughters; child gender; Trivers-Willard hypothesis;

    JEL classification:

    • J16 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination
    • C93 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Field Experiments
    • C90 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - General
    • D81 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Criteria for Decision-Making under Risk and Uncertainty

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