Abstract

http://ssrn.com/abstract=2158950
 
 

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Are Women Really More Risk-Averse than Men?


Julie A. Nelson


University of Massachusetts at Boston - Department of Economics; Tufts University - Global Development and Environment Institute

September 21, 2012

INET Research Note #012

Abstract:     
While a substantial literature in economics and finance has concluded that women are more risk averse than men, this conclusion merits reconsideration. Drawing on literatures in statistics and cognitive science, this essay discusses the important difference between drawing conclusions based on statistical inference, which concerns aggregates such as mean scores, and generalization, which posits characteristics of individuals classified into kinds. To supplement findings of statistical significance, quantitative measures of substantive difference (Cohen's d) and overlap (the Index of Similarity) are computed from the data on men, women, and risk used in 28 published articles. The results are considerably more mixed and overlapping than might be expected. Paying attention to empirical evidence that challenges subjective cultural beliefs about sex and risk has implications for labor economics, finance, and the economics of climate change.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 45

Keywords: risk, women, gender, risk aversion, statistical inference

JEL Classification: C1, C9, J16

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Date posted: October 9, 2012  

Suggested Citation

Nelson, Julie A., Are Women Really More Risk-Averse than Men? (September 21, 2012). INET Research Note #012. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2158950 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2158950

Contact Information

Julie A. Nelson (Contact Author)
University of Massachusetts at Boston - Department of Economics ( email )
100 Morrissey Blvd.
Boston, MA 02125
United States
HOME PAGE: http://www.umb.edu/academics/cla/dept/economics/faculty/facultyNelson.html
Tufts University - Global Development and Environment Institute ( email )
MA
United States
HOME PAGE: http://www.ase.tufts.edu/gdae/about_us/researchers.html#nelson
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