Room Effects

27 Pages Posted: 17 Jun 2013

See all articles by Marco Castillo

Marco Castillo

Department of Economics, Texas A&M University; IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Gregory Leo

University of California, Santa Barbara

Ragan Petrie

Texas A&M University - Department of Economics; University of Melbourne - Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research

Date Written: June 17, 2013

Abstract

We present clean evidence of a direct social context effect on behavior in a laboratory experiment: the gender composition of the room significantly alters the risk decisions of subjects even when the actions or presence of others are neither payoff nor information relevant. Our design is such that subjects do not know the decisions of others, nor can they be inferred. We find that women become more risk taking as the proportion of men in the group increases. This is most consistent with women imitating the expected behavior of others in the session. Our results imply that aggregate behavior is not a simple extrapolation of individual preferences. Groups might have more extreme behavior than the average individual.

Suggested Citation

Castillo, Marco and Leo, Gregory and Petrie, Ragan, Room Effects (June 17, 2013). GMU Interdisciplinary Center for Economic Science Department of Economics Paper No. 13-17. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2280217 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2280217

Marco Castillo

Department of Economics, Texas A&M University ( email )

Allen Building
4228 TAMU
College Station, TX 77843-3137
United States

IZA Institute of Labor Economics ( email )

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

Gregory Leo

University of California, Santa Barbara ( email )

2127 North Hall
Santa Barbara, CA 93106
United States

Ragan Petrie (Contact Author)

Texas A&M University - Department of Economics ( email )

4228 TAMU
College Station, TX 77843-4228
United States

University of Melbourne - Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research ( email )

Level 5, FBE Building, 111 Barry Street
Parkville, Victoria 3010
Australia

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