Monday, January 07, 2008

Risk aversion IV - Gender

Are men or women more likely to be risk averse? There are a couple of studies. The first by Jianakoplos & Bernasek (1998) found that single women display more risk averse behaviour than single men when choosing financial products. Men were significantly more likely to hold risky investments than women.
Other research (Bajtelsmit and VanDerhei, 1996; Hinz, McCarthy, and Turner, 1996) found that women tend to (not all women) invest in more conservative - less risky pension arrangements. This means that on average they will get more modest returns compared to most men, however less women tend to loose their investment as a consequence.
However in a project that examined men and women leaders working together in a simulated takeover scenario Gadsby & Maynes (2003) found that there was no significant difference in risk taking when making decisions. However when the men and women were seperated and little feedback was given about the performance of their actions men tended to continue to make riskier decisions. The researchers conclusion was that women tend towards conformity more than men.
Just remember I only reported the research I didn't do it!

Jianakoplos, N.A. & Bernasek, A (1998) Are women more risk averse? Economic Inquiry 36 (4), 620–630.
Gadsby, C.B. & Maynes,E. (2005) Gender, risk aversion, and the drawing power of equilibrium in an experimental corporate takeover game. Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization Volume 56, Issue 1, January 2005, Pages 39-59

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