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Women quitters in exit competitions: Reliable indicators of women's risk aversion?

  • Hanley, Aoife
  • Schmidt, Eike-Christian

Information from television game shows has recently been used to measure women's risk aversion. Researchers have abstracted from this evidence to explain the underrepresentation of women at senior levels in politics, business and management. But how reliable is this type of data? Using data for 483 male and female participants in a simulation of the TV game show 'Deal or no Deal', we find that women on average exit 0.45 rounds earlier than men, confirming the higher risk aversion for women. We also find that if we were to select women with comparable earnings and education to men, being female is less of an obstacle towards risk-taking behaviour than in the absence of these controls. Specifically, women would now be seen to exit 0.12 rounds earlier, rather than 0.45 rounds earlier. Experiments need to be mindful of controlling for these background factors when assessing the nexus between risk-taking and gender.

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Paper provided by Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW) in its series Kiel Policy Brief with number 66.

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Date of creation: 2013
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Handle: RePEc:zbw:ifwkpb:66
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  1. Dohmen Thomas & Falk Armin & Huffman David & Sunde Uwe, 2009. "Are Risk Aversion and Impatience Related to Cognitive Ability?," Research Memorandum 040, Maastricht University, Maastricht Research School of Economics of Technology and Organization (METEOR).
  2. Hogarth, Robin M. & Karelaia, Natalia & Trujillo, Carlos Andrés, 2012. "When should I quit? Gender differences in exiting competitions," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 83(1), pages 136-150.
  3. Luigi Guiso & Monica Paiella, 2007. "Risk Aversion, Wealth, and Background Risk," Economics Working Papers ECO2007/47, European University Institute.
  4. Dohmen, Thomas J. & Falk, Armin & Huffman, David & Sunde, Uwe, 2010. "Are risk aversion and impatience related to cognitive ability?," Munich Reprints in Economics 20063, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  5. Borghans Lex & Golsteyn Bart & Heckman James & Meijers Huub, 2009. "Gender Differences in Risk Aversion and Ambiguity Aversion," ROA Research Memorandum 005, Maastricht University, Research Centre for Education and the Labour Market (ROA).
  6. Marianne Bertrand & Kevin Hallock, 1999. "The Gender Gap in Top Corporate Jobs," Working Papers 805, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
  7. Joseph Eisenhauer, 2005. "A test of Hotelling’s Valuation Principle for nonrenewable resources," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 30(2), pages 465-471, 09.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
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