Economics, Literature and Scepticism

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I am a PhD student in Economics. I am originally from South Africa and plan to return there after my PhD. I completed my M. Comm in Economics and my MA In Creative Writing (Poetry) at the University of Cape Town, where I worked as a lecturer before starting my PhD.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Gender and Risk: Introduction to the Series

Posted by Simon Halliday | Thursday, October 22, 2009 | Category: , , , , | girls as competitive as boys? Do boys take more risks than girls? Do female CEOs risk as much and compete as much as male CEOs? Or are these ill-posed questions, appealing to an idea of gender as deterministic, entirely nativist? Over the next while I'll be posting discussions of papers in economics, particularly experimental economics, in which the researchers try to grapple with the correlates of risk aversion and how gender seems a particularly persistent predictor of risk aversion: the evidence suggests that women behave substantially more risk aversely than men behave. But economists are also quite clever about all of this - they have recently begun to try to understand whether nurture, context, or other factors that tend to correlate with gender might be the underlying correlates of risk behavior.  I'll introduce these ideas as we look at the research.

I'll be dealing with results from several papers. Provisionally, the reading list comprises the following:
Sheryl Ball, Catherine Eckel and Maria Heracleous, 'Risk Aversion and Physical Prowess: Prediction, Choice and Bias', Working Paper, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Department of Economics
Alison Booth and Patrick J. Nolen, 2009, 'Gender Differences in Risk Behaviour: Does Nurture Matter?' University of Essex, Department of Economics Discussion Paper 672
Alison Booth and Patrick J. Nolen, 2009, 'Choosing to Compete: How Different Are Girls and Boys'  University of Essex, Department of Economics Discussion Paper 673
Catherine Eckel and Philip Grossman, 2008, 'Men, Women, and Risk Aversion: Experimental Evidence', The Handbook of Experimental Economics Results, Vol 1, Charles R. Plott and Vernon L. Smith (eds), Elsevier Science & North Holland
Uri Gneezy, Kenneth L. Leonard and John List, 2009, 'Gender Differences in Competition: Evidence for a Matrilineal and a Patriarchal Society' NBER working paper 13727 (forthcoming in Econometrica)

I will also refer to several other papers on general results about risk aversion and methods used to elicit these preferences, but I won't review these papers specifically. 

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