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Ethnicity and risk: a field test of the white-male effect

Shahar Sansani

Applied Economics Letters, 2018, vol. 25, issue 2, 74-77

Abstract: In this article, I analyse the different risk-taking tendencies of students comprising the two major ethnic groups in Israel, Ashkenazi and Mizrahi Jews, in a field setting. I determine ethnicity by students’ last names, and I measure risk by students’ propensity to give up a passing grade on a final exam in order to be able to retake the exam in pursuit of a higher grade, but with the risk of earning a lower grade and possibly not passing the course. Differences in preferences for risk may be part of the explanation for differential labour market outcomes between gender and ethnic groups. I find evidence that Ashkenazi men take more exam risk than both Ashkenazi and Mizrahi women, and Mizrahi men. This finding is consistent with the ‘White-Male Effect’, the notion that white males, or males from the dominant socio-economic group, perceive lower risks than females and non-whites.

Date: 2018
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