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Gender Differences in Risk Aversion and Ambiguity Aversion

  • Borghans Lex
  • Golsteyn Bart
  • Heckman James
  • Meijers Huub

    (ROA rm)

This paper demonstrates gender differences in risk aversion and ambiguityaversion. It also contributes to a growing literature relating economic preferenceparameters to psychological measures by asking whether variations in preferenceparameters among persons, and in particular across genders, can be accounted forby differences in personality traits and traits of cognition. Women are more riskaverse than men. Over an initial range, women require no further compensationfor 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 riskaversion. They explain none of the differences in ambiguity.

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File URL: http://digitalarchive.maastrichtuniversity.nl/fedora/objects/guid:11324635-25b8-4a29-b548-bcb4ee09d290/datastreams/ASSET1/content
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Paper provided by Maastricht University, Research Centre for Education and the Labour Market (ROA) in its series ROA Research Memorandum with number 005.

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Date of creation: 2009
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Handle: RePEc:unm:umaror:2009005
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  1. Lars Peter Hansen, 2007. "Beliefs, Doubts and Learning: Valuing Economic Risk," NBER Working Papers 12948, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Thomas Dohmen & Armin Falk & David Huffman & Uwe Sunde, 2009. "Are Risk Aversion and Impatience Related to Cognitive Ability?," CESifo Working Paper Series 2620, CESifo Group Munich.
  3. David Backus & Bryan Routledge & Stanley Zin, 2004. "Exotic Preferences for Macroeconomists," Working Papers 04-20, New York University, Leonard N. Stern School of Business, Department of Economics.
  4. Borghans, Lex & Duckworth, Angela Lee & Heckman, James J. & Weel, Bas ter, 2008. "The Economics and Psychology of Personality Traits," MERIT Working Papers 010, United Nations University - Maastricht Economic and Social Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT).
  5. Daniel J. Benjamin & Sebastian A. Brown & Jesse M. Shapiro, 2006. "Who is “Behavioral”? Cognitive Ability and Anomalous Preferences," Levine's Working Paper Archive 122247000000001334, David K. Levine.
  6. 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.
  7. Julie R. Agnew & Lisa R. Anderson & Jeffrey R. Gerlach & Lisa R. Szykman, 2008. "Who Chooses Annuities? An Experimental Investigation of the Role of Gender, Framing, and Defaults," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(2), pages 418-22, May.
  8. Yoram Halevy, 2007. "Ellsberg Revisited: An Experimental Study," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 75(2), pages 503-536, 03.
  9. 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.
  10. Powell, Melanie & Ansic, David, 1997. "Gender differences in risk behaviour in financial decision-making: An experimental analysis," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 18(6), pages 605-628, November.
  11. Lars Peter Hansen, 2007. "Beliefs, Doubts and Learning: Valuing Macroeconomic Risk," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(2), pages 1-30, May.
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