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Gender differences in risk behavior: An analysis of asset allocation decisions in Ghana

Marya Hillesland

World Development, 2019, vol. 117, issue C, 127-137

Abstract: Within a developing country context, little is known about gender differences in risk preferences as reflected in asset allocation decisions. Much of the empirical literature within development studies on risk and investment in assets centers on risk coping and risk management strategies of households. With some exceptions, this literature primarily focuses on household and household-level outcomes. Previous experimental studies have explored gender differences in risk preferences in developing countries with inconclusive results. Using unique national-representative sex-disaggregated data with self-reported asset ownership and wealth information of individuals within households in Ghana from a multi-country project, The Gender Asset Gap Project, this paper explores men and women's risk preferences as reflected in asset allocation decisions through a decomposition method typically used to explore gender differences in wage employment. The study finds that although women hold significantly fewer risky assets than men in absolute terms and as a proportion of their wealth in the sample, men and women do not have systematically different risk preferences. The results in this paper differ from the results in many empirical studies in developed countries, where women are often found to be more risk averse than men. As the first study to look at gender differences in risk aversion in terms of asset allocation with in the developing country context, the results from this study provide evidence that gender differences in risk attitudes may vary by cultural context as the growing experimental literature in developing countries suggests.

Keywords: Gender difference; Risk preferences; Ghana; Wealth; Asset allocation decisions; Risk aversion (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: D8 G1 O1 D3 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2019
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