Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10419/171475
Authors: 
Fehr-Duda, Helga
de Gennaro, Manuele
Schubert, Renate
Year of Publication: 
2004
Series/Report no.: 
Economics Working Paper Series 04/31
Abstract: 
Women are commonly stereotyped as more risk averse than men in financial decision making. In this paper we examine whether this stereotype reflects actual differences in risk taking behavior by means of a laboratory experiment with monetary incentives. Gender differences in risk taking may be due to differences in subjects’ valuations of outcomes or to the way probabilities are processed. The results of our experiment indicate that men and women differ in their probability weighting schemes; however, we do not find a significant difference in the value functions. Women tend to be less sensitive to probability changes and also tend to underestimate large probabilities of gains to a higher degree than do men, i.e. women are more pessimistic in the gain domain. The combination of both effects results in significant gender differences in average probability weights in lotteries framed as investment decisions. Women’s relative insensitivity to probabilities combined with pessimism may indeed lead to higher risk aversion.
Subjects: 
Gender Differences
Risk Aversion
Financial Decision Making
Prospect Theory
JEL: 
D81
C91
C92
Persistent Identifier of the first edition: 
Document Type: 
Working Paper

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