Gender Differences in Risk Aversion and Ambiguity Aversion

19 Pages Posted: 2 Mar 2009

See all articles by Lex Borghans

Lex Borghans

Maastricht University - Department of Economics; University of Maastricht - Research Centre for Education and the Labour Market (ROA); IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Bart Golsteyn

Maastricht University - Research Centre for Education and the Labour Market (ROA); IZA Institute of Labor Economics; Stockholm University - Swedish Institute for Social Research (SOFI)

James J. Heckman

University of Chicago - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); American Bar Foundation; Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA); CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

Huub Meijers

University of Maastricht - Maastricht Economic Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT)

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Abstract

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

Keywords: gender, risk aversion, ambiguity aversion

JEL Classification: J24, D03, D80

Suggested Citation

Borghans, Lex and Golsteyn, Bart and Heckman, James J. and Meijers, Huub, Gender Differences in Risk Aversion and Ambiguity Aversion. IZA Discussion Paper No. 3985. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1351149

Lex Borghans (Contact Author)

Maastricht University - Department of Economics ( email )

P.O. Box 616
Maastricht, 6200 MD
Netherlands

University of Maastricht - Research Centre for Education and the Labour Market (ROA) ( email )

P.O. Box 616
Maastricht, MD6200
Netherlands

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

Bart Golsteyn

Maastricht University - Research Centre for Education and the Labour Market (ROA) ( email )

P.O. Box 616
Maastricht, MD6200
Netherlands

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

Stockholm University - Swedish Institute for Social Research (SOFI) ( email )

Kyrkgatan 43B
SE-106 91 Stockholm
Sweden

James J. Heckman

University of Chicago - Department of Economics ( email )

1126 East 59th Street
Chicago, IL 60637
United States
773-702-0634 (Phone)
773-702-8490 (Fax)

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

American Bar Foundation

750 N. Lake Shore Drive
Chicago, IL 60611
United States

Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA)

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

Poschinger Str. 5
Munich, DE-81679
Germany

Huub Meijers

University of Maastricht - Maastricht Economic Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT) ( email )

P.O. Box 616
Maastricht, 6200 MD
Netherlands

HOME PAGE: http://meijers.unu-merit.nl

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