Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10419/35352
Authors: 
Bertocchi, Graziella
Brunetti, Marianna
Torricelli, Costanza
Year of Publication: 
2009
Series/Report no.: 
IZA discussion papers 3975
Abstract: 
We study the joint impact of gender and marital status on financial decisions. First, we test the hypothesis that marriage represents - in a portfolio framework - a sort of safe asset, and that this effect is stronger for women. Controlling for a number of observable characteristics, we show that single women have a lower propensity to invest in risky assets than married females and males. Second, we show that the differential behavior of single women evolves over time, reflecting the increasing incidence of divorce and the expansion of female labor market participation. In particular, towards the end of our sample period, we observe a reduction in the gap between women with different family status, which can be attributed to the gradual erosion of the perception of marriage as a sort of safe asset. Our results therefore suggest that the differential behavior of single vs. married women can be explained by the evolution of gender roles in society, even after controlling for differential risk attitudes. Our empirical investigation is based on a dataset drawn from the 1989-2006 Bank of Italy Survey of Household Income and Wealth.
Subjects: 
Portfolio choice
marriage
divorce
labor force participation
JEL: 
G11
E21
J12
J21
Persistent Identifier of the first edition: 
Document Type: 
Working Paper

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