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Gender Differences in Risk Preferences: An Empirical Study using Attitudinal and Behavioral Specifications of Risk Aversion

Jyoti Rai and Jean Kimmel

A chapter in Gender in the Labor Market, 2015, vol. 42, pp 61-91 from Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Abstract: Do women exhibit greater financial risk aversion than men? We answer this question using attitudinal and behavioral specifications of risk aversion drawn from the 2010 Survey of Consumer Finances (SCF). To approximate attitudinal specification of risk aversion, we use individuals’ self-reported financial risk tolerance. We use individuals’ relative risk aversion, that is, the effect of wealth on the proportion of assets categorized as risky as behavioral specification of risk aversion. We find that while women display greater attitudinal risk aversion, gender difference in behavioral risk aversion depends upon individuals’ marital status and role in household finances. Single women exhibit greater behavioral risk aversion compared to single men. However, this gender difference does not exist when we compare behavioral risk aversion of married women and men in charge of household finances.

Keywords: Gender differences; attitudinal risk aversion; behavioral risk aversion; relative risk aversion; household finances; D03; G02; G11; J1 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2015
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DOI: 10.1108/S0147-912120150000042002

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