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Does Society Influence the Gender Gap in Risk Attitudes? Evidence from East and West Germany

Author

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  • Chadi, Cornelia
  • Jirjahn, Uwe

Abstract

Previous international research has shown that women are more risk averse than men. This gives rise to the question whether the gender gap in risk attitudes is shaped by the social environment. We address this question by examining risk attitudes among East and West Germans. Originated from different family policies during Germany’s separation, East Germans have more equal gender roles than West Germans. Thus, if the gender gap reflects socially constructed norms, it should be smaller among East Germans. Using data of the German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP), our empirical analysis confirms this prediction. Specifically with respect to career and financial matters, the gender gap in risk tolerance is smaller among East Germans. We find no evidence that the East German gender gap has converged to the higher West German level after reunification. By contrast, the West German gap has narrowed over time.

Suggested Citation

  • Chadi, Cornelia & Jirjahn, Uwe, 2019. "Does Society Influence the Gender Gap in Risk Attitudes? Evidence from East and West Germany," GLO Discussion Paper Series 311, Global Labor Organization (GLO).
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:glodps:311
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Risk Preferences; Gender Roles; Nurture; Family Policy;

    JEL classification:

    • D91 - Microeconomics - - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics - - - Role and Effects of Psychological, Emotional, Social, and Cognitive Factors on Decision Making
    • J16 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination
    • P51 - Economic Systems - - Comparative Economic Systems - - - Comparative Analysis of Economic Systems

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