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Room Effects

Marco Castillo (), Greg Leo () and Ragan Petrie ()

No 1040, Working Papers from George Mason University, Interdisciplinary Center for Economic Science

Abstract: We present clean evidence of a direct social context effect on behavior in a laboratory experiment: the gender composition of the room significantly alters the risk decisions of subjects even when the actions or presence of others are neither payoff nor information relevant. Our design is such that subjects do not know the decisions of others, nor can they be inferred. We find that women become more risk taking as the proportion of men in the group increases. This is most consistent with women imitating the expected behavior of others in the session. Our results imply that aggregate behavior is not a simple extrapolation of individual preferences. Groups might have more extreme behavior than the average individual. Length: 27

Keywords: gender; context effect; risk aversion; experiment (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: C91 D81 J16 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2013-04, Revised 2013-04
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-cbe, nep-dem, nep-evo and nep-exp
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