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Cognitive Skills, Gender and Risk Preferences

Author

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  • Booth, Alison L.

    () (Australian National University)

  • Katic, Pamela

    () (Australian National University)

Abstract

In this paper we utilise data from a unique new birth-cohort study to see how the risk preferences of young people are affected by cognitive skills and gender. We find that cognitive ability (measured by the percentile ranking for university entrance at age 18) has no effect on risk preferences measured at age 20. This is in contrast to experimental studies that use IQ measures to proxy cognitive skills. However we do find that gender matters. While young women are significantly more likely than young men to assess themselves as being prepared to take risks, women choose to invest significantly less when they are confronted with a clearly specified investment decision based on hypothetical lottery winnings. This difference between the impact of gender on risk attitudes and the hypothetical lottery investment suggests that impatience and framing affect young women and men differently.

Suggested Citation

  • Booth, Alison L. & Katic, Pamela, 2012. "Cognitive Skills, Gender and Risk Preferences," IZA Discussion Papers 6997, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp6997
    as

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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Thomas Dohmen & Armin Falk & David Huffman & Uwe Sunde, 2010. "Are Risk Aversion and Impatience Related to Cognitive Ability?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(3), pages 1238-1260, June.
    2. Juan D. Barón & Deborah Cobb-Clark, 2010. "Are Young People's Educational Outcomes Linked to their Sense of Control?," Borradores de Economia 599, Banco de la Republica de Colombia.
    3. repec:cup:apsrev:v:97:y:2003:i:04:p:567-583_00 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Alison L. Booth & Hiau Joo Kee, 2011. "A Long‐Run View Of The University Gender Gap In Australia," Australian Economic History Review, Economic History Society of Australia and New Zealand, vol. 51(3), pages 254-276, November.
    5. Steffen Andersen & Glenn W. Harrison & Morten I. Lau & E. Elisabet Rutström, 2008. "Eliciting Risk and Time Preferences," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 76(3), pages 583-618, May.
    6. Deborah A. Cobb-Clark & Chris Ryan & Ana Sartbayeva, 2009. "Taking Chances: The Effect of Growing Up on Welfare on the Risky Behaviour of Young People," CEPR Discussion Papers 604, Centre for Economic Policy Research, Research School of Economics, Australian National University.
    7. repec:cup:apsrev:v:98:y:2004:i:01:p:191-207_00 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. 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.
    9. Booth, Alison & Cardona-Sosa, Lina & Nolen, Patrick, 2014. "Gender differences in risk aversion: Do single-sex environments affect their development?," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 99(C), pages 126-154.
    10. Thomas Dohmen & Armin Falk & David Huffman & Uwe Sunde & Juergen Schupp & Gert Wagner, 2005. "Individual Risk Attitudes: New Evidence from a Large, Representative, Experimentally-Validated Survey," Working Papers 2096, The Field Experiments Website.
    11. 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.
    12. Eckel, Catherine C. & Grossman, Philip J., 2008. "Men, Women and Risk Aversion: Experimental Evidence," Handbook of Experimental Economics Results, Elsevier.
    13. Matthew Rabin & Georg Weizsacker, 2009. "Narrow Bracketing and Dominated Choices," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(4), pages 1508-1543, September.
    14. Donkers, Bas & Melenberg, Bertrand & Van Soest, Arthur, 2001. "Estimating Risk Attitudes Using Lotteries: A Large Sample Approach," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 22(2), pages 165-195, March.
    15. Buly A Cardak & Chris Ryan, 2006. "Why are high ability individuals from poor backgrounds under-represented at university?," Working Papers 2006.04, School of Economics, La Trobe University.
    16. Hartog, Joop & Ferrer-i-Carbonell, Ada & Jonker, Nicole, 2002. "Linking Measured Risk Aversion to Individual Characteristics," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 55(1), pages 3-26.
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    Cited by:

    1. Luis Alejandro Lopez-Agudo & Oscar David Marcenaro Gutierrez & Helena Ferreira-Marques, 2016. "Gender, institutions and educational achievement: a cross country comparison," Investigaciones de Economía de la Educación volume 11,in: José Manuel Cordero Ferrera & Rosa Simancas Rodríguez (ed.), Investigaciones de Economía de la Educación 11, edition 1, volume 11, chapter 20, pages 383-400 Asociación de Economía de la Educación.
    2. Das, Tirthatanmoy & Polachek, Solomon, 2017. "Micro Foundations of Earnings Differences," IZA Discussion Papers 10922, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    3. repec:aea:jecper:v:32:y:2018:i:2:p:115-34 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Thomas Dohmen & Armin Falk & David Huffman & Uwe Sunde, 2018. "On the Relationship between Cognitive Ability and Risk Preference," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 32(2), pages 115-134, Spring.
    5. Prokosheva, Sasha, 2016. "Comparing decisions under compound risk and ambiguity: The importance of cognitive skills," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 64(C), pages 94-105.
    6. Sasha Prokosheva, 2014. "Comparing Decisions under Compound Risk and Ambiguity: The Importance of Cognitive Skills," CERGE-EI Working Papers wp525, The Center for Economic Research and Graduate Education - Economics Institute, Prague.
    7. 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.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    cognitive ability; risk preferences; risk attitudes; gender;

    JEL classification:

    • 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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