Identity, Overconfidence, and Investment Decisions

58 Pages Posted: 12 Aug 2015 Last revised: 3 Sep 2015

Date Written: August 7, 2015


Why are men more risk tolerant than women, and why do they invest more than women? I test whether identity stereotypes help explain this heterogeneity. I manipulate identity in a controlled environment by priming its salience to subjects. Men whose identity is primed take on more risk, and invest more often and more money than controls. The salience of male identity increases men's beliefs about experiencing good outcomes in a game of chance. Inducing overconfidence similarly makes men take on more risk and invest more. The effects are stronger for older cohorts of men, consistent with the notion that gender-identity stereotypes have become less stark over the last decades.

Keywords: Gender Identity, Stereotypes, Experimental Economics, Heterogeneous Beliefs, Individual Investors

JEL Classification: D81, G01, G11, J16, Z13

Suggested Citation

D'Acunto, Francesco, Identity, Overconfidence, and Investment Decisions (August 7, 2015). Available at SSRN: or

Francesco D'Acunto (Contact Author)

Boston College ( email )

140 Commonwealth Avenue
Chestnut Hill, MA 02467
United States

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