Gender Differences in Risk Behaviour: Does Nurture Matter?

23 Pages Posted: 19 Jan 2012

See all articles by Alison L. Booth

Alison L. Booth

Australian National University (ANU) - Research School of Social Sciences (RSSS); Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR); IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Patrick J. Nolen

University of Essex; IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Multiple version iconThere are 3 versions of this paper

Date Written: February 2012

Abstract

Using a controlled experiment, we investigate if individuals’ risk preferences are affected by (i) the gender composition of the group to which they are randomly assigned, and (ii) the gender mix of the school they attend. Our subjects, from eight publicly funded single‐sex and coeducational schools, were asked to choose between a real‐stakes lottery and a sure bet. We found that girls in an all‐girls group or attending a single‐sex school were more likely than their coed counterparts to choose a real‐stakes gamble. This suggests that observed gender differences in behaviour under uncertainty found in previous studies might reflect social learning rather than inherent gender traits.

Suggested Citation

Booth, Alison L. and Nolen, Patrick J., Gender Differences in Risk Behaviour: Does Nurture Matter? (February 2012). The Economic Journal, Vol. 122, Issue 558, pp. F56-F78, 2012, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1987954 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1468-0297.2011.02480.x

Alison L. Booth (Contact Author)

Australian National University (ANU) - Research School of Social Sciences (RSSS) ( email )

Canberra, Australian Capital Territory 0200
Australia
+61 2 6125 3285 (Phone)
+61 2 6125 0182 (Fax)

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

London
United Kingdom

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

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

Patrick J. Nolen

University of Essex ( email )

Wivenhoe Park
Colchester, CO4 3SQ
United Kingdom

IZA Institute of Labor Economics ( email )

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

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