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

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  • Hanley, Aoife
  • Schmidt, Eike-Christian

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Hanley, Aoife & Schmidt, Eike-Christian, 2013. "Women quitters in exit competitions: Reliable indicators of women's risk aversion?," Kiel Policy Brief 66, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW).
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:ifwkpb:66
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    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. Lex Borghans & Bart H. H. Golsteyn & James J. Heckman & Huub Meijers, 2009. "Gender Differences in Risk Aversion and Ambiguity Aversion," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 7(2-3), pages 649-658, 04-05.
    3. Luigi Guiso & Monica Paiella, 2008. "Risk Aversion, Wealth, and Background Risk," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 6(6), pages 1109-1150, December.
    4. Joseph Eisenhauer, 2005. "A test of Hotelling’s Valuation Principle for nonrenewable resources," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 30(2), pages 465-471, September.
    5. 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.
    6. 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.
    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 418-422, May.
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