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Gender Differences in Risk Aversion and Ambiguity Aversion

Author

Listed:
  • Borghans, Lex

    (Maastricht University)

  • Golsteyn, Bart H.H.

    (Maastricht University)

  • Heckman, James J.

    (University of Chicago)

  • Meijers, Huub

    (Maastricht University)

Abstract

This paper demonstrates gender differences in risk aversion and ambiguity aversion. It also contributes to a growing literature relating economic preference parameters to psychological measures by asking whether variations in preference parameters among persons, and in particular across genders, can be accounted for by differences in personality traits and traits of cognition. Women are more risk averse than men. Over an initial range, women require no further compensation for the introduction of ambiguity but men do. At greater levels of ambiguity, women have the same marginal distaste for increased ambiguity as men. Psychological variables account for some of the interpersonal variation in risk aversion. They explain none of the differences in ambiguity.

Suggested Citation

  • Borghans, Lex & Golsteyn, Bart H.H. & Heckman, James J. & Meijers, Huub, 2009. "Gender Differences in Risk Aversion and Ambiguity Aversion," IZA Discussion Papers 3985, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp3985
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    risk aversion; ambiguity aversion; gender;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • D03 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Behavioral Microeconomics: Underlying Principles
    • D80 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - General

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