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Do Women Behave Financially Worse than Men? Evidence from Married and Cohabiting Couples

Andrzej Cwynar

Central European Business Review, 2021, vol. 2021, issue 5, 81-98

Abstract: Extensive empirical evidence shows that women perform worse in financial literacy tests, which implies that their financial behaviour may also be worse compared to men. However, the literature on the gender gap in financial behaviour is scanty and highly inconclusive. Using data from a survey of married and cohabiting couples living in Poland (N=1,000) and a multi-dimensional scale validated in terms of its psychometric properties, this article compares the financial behaviour of women and men. The applied tests did not show any significant gender differences in the overall financial behaviour index or in any of the subdomains of the behaviour distinguished in the applied scale. Using the social identity theory as a framework, we discuss possible explanations of these puzzling findings, which may imply that women are unnecessarily considered a disadvantaged group in terms of preparedness to participate in financial life, including the business sphere.Implications for Central European audience: Assuming that the gender differences in financial literacy and behaviour can be explained on the grounds of the social identity theory, Central and Eastern Europe may differ from Western Europe in terms of the gender gap. Socially-imposed gender roles were presumably shaped differently behind the Iron Curtain, which resulted in that the distinction between masculine and feminine roles got blurred under the Soviet regime. As a result, the absence of gender differences in financial behaviour is more likely to occur in Central and Eastern European countries. Financial education initiatives should take this circumstance into account.

Keywords: financial behaviour; gender gap; financial literacy; social norms; social identity (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: D21 J16 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2021
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DOI: 10.18267/j.cebr.270

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