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Marriage and Other Risky Assets: A Portfolio Approach

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  • Bertocchi, Graziella

    () (University of Modena and Reggio Emilia)

  • Brunetti, Marianna

    () (University of Rome Tor Vergata)

  • Torricelli, Costanza

    () (University of Modena and Reggio Emilia)

Abstract

We study the joint impact of gender and marital status on financial decisions. First, we test the hypothesis that marriage represents - in a portfolio framework - a sort of safe asset, and that this effect is stronger for women. Controlling for a number of observable characteristics, we show that single women have a lower propensity to invest in risky assets than married females and males. Second, we show that the differential behavior of single women evolves over time, reflecting the increasing incidence of divorce and the expansion of female labor market participation. In particular, towards the end of our sample period, we observe a reduction in the gap between women with different family status, which can be attributed to the gradual erosion of the perception of marriage as a sort of safe asset. Our results therefore suggest that the differential behavior of single vs. married women can be explained by the evolution of gender roles in society, even after controlling for differential risk attitudes. Our empirical investigation is based on a dataset drawn from the 1989-2006 Bank of Italy Survey of Household Income and Wealth.

Suggested Citation

  • Bertocchi, Graziella & Brunetti, Marianna & Torricelli, Costanza, 2009. "Marriage and Other Risky Assets: A Portfolio Approach," IZA Discussion Papers 3975, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp3975
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Graziella Bertocchi & Marianna Brunetti & Costanza Torricelli, 2012. "Is it money or brains? The determinants of intra-family decision power," Centro Studi di Banca e Finanza (CEFIN) (Center for Studies in Banking and Finance) 12062, Universita di Modena e Reggio Emilia, Dipartimento di Economia "Marco Biagi".
    2. Giarda, Elena, 2013. "Persistency of financial distress amongst Italian households: Evidence from dynamic models for binary panel data," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 37(9), pages 3425-3434.
    3. Giovanni D’Alessio, 2018. "Gender wealth gap in Italy," Questioni di Economia e Finanza (Occasional Papers) 433, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
    4. Atella, Vincenzo & Brunetti, Marianna & Maestas, Nicole, 2012. "Household portfolio choices, health status and health care systems: A cross-country analysis based on SHARE," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 36(5), pages 1320-1335.
    5. Henriëtte Prast & Mariacristina Rossi & Costanza Torricelli & Dario Sansone, 2015. "Do Women Prefer Pink? The Effect of a Gender Stereotypical Stock Portfolio on Investing Decisions," Politica economica, Società editrice il Mulino, issue 3, pages 377-420.
    6. repec:fau:fauart:v:67:y:2017:i:5:p:439-459 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Costanza Torricelli & Maria Cesira Urzì Brancati & Marco Santantonio, 2016. "Does Homeownership Partly Explain Low Participation in Supplementary Pension Schemes?," Economic Notes, Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena SpA, vol. 45(2), pages 179-203, July.
    8. Callado Muñoz, Francisco Jose & González Chapela, Jorge & Utrero González, Natalia, 2014. "Analysis of deviance in household financial portfolio choice: evidence from Spain," MPRA Paper 57497, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    9. Bertocchi, Graziella & Brunetti, Marianna & Torricelli, Costanza, 2014. "Who holds the purse strings within the household? The determinants of intra-family decision making," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 101(C), pages 65-86.
    10. Siobhan Austen & Rachel Ong & Sherry Bawa & Therese Jefferson, 2013. "Trends in the Gender Wealth Gap Among Single Households in Australia, 2002-2010," Bankwest Curtin Economics Centre Working Paper series WP1308, Bankwest Curtin Economics Centre (BCEC), Curtin Business School.
    11. Johnston, David W. & Kassenboehmer, Sonja C. & Shields, Michael A., 2016. "Financial decision-making in the household: Exploring the importance of survey respondent, health, cognitive ability and personality," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 132(PA), pages 42-61.
    12. Ganguli, Ina & Hausmann, Ricardo & Viarengo, Martina, 2010. "“Schooling Can’t Buy Me Love†: Marriage, Work, and the Gender Education Gap in Latin America," Scholarly Articles 4448873, Harvard Kennedy School of Government.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    divorce; marriage; labor force participation; portfolio choice;

    JEL classification:

    • G11 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Portfolio Choice; Investment Decisions
    • E21 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Consumption; Saving; Wealth
    • J12 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Marriage; Marital Dissolution; Family Structure
    • J21 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Labor Force and Employment, Size, and Structure

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