Gender Jeopardy in Financial Risk Taking
Journal of Marketing Research, 45(4), August 2008, 414-424
11 Pages Posted: 19 Oct 2013
Date Written: August 1, 2008
This article examines the joint effect of issue capability and gender on risk taking. Across three studies, the authors show that the effect of issue capability is moderated by gender, depending on the compatibility between the goal orientation of the decision maker and the nature of the decision task. For decisions that are mainly driven by achievement of gains (e.g., investment decisions), men’s risk-taking propensity is more influenced by their levels of issue capability than women’s because the nature of the decision task is consistent with men’s agentic orientation focused on the self. Conversely, for decisions that are mainly driven by avoidance of losses (e.g., insurance decisions), women’s risk taking is more sensitive to issue capability than men’s because the nature of such decisions is consistent with women’s communion orientation. The authors analyze the betting data from the Daily Double in the Jeopardy! game show (Study 1). The results show that gender moderates the effect of issue capability on the actual betting behavior in Jeopardy! In Study 2, the authors test the underlying mechanism through mediation analyses of the focus of attention. In Study 3, the authors manipulate the task nature and demonstrate that men’s risk taking is more sensitive to issue capability in investment decisions, whereas women’s risk taking is more sensitive to issue capability in insurance decisions.
Keywords: risk taking, financial decisions, gender, issue capability, goal orientation, agency-communion theory
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