WHO DOESN’T TAKE A RISK, NEVER GETS TO DRINK CHAMPAGNE: WOMEN, RISK AND ECONOMICS
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This paper provides an overview of studies, mainly experimental, on risk aversion of women and men. First, it discusses results indicating greater risk aversion among women and linking it with biological characteristics. Then it lists studies refuting these differences or pointing to sources other than biological. The entire discussion will be framed in the context of Identity Economics (IE) suggesting that women’s risk preferences may be linked with identity and thus also with normative requirements placed on them. The main aim of the study is to examine whether commonly accepted claims are not persistent stereotypes and whether differences arise out of social, cultural or contextual rather biological causes. It presents arguments supporting the hypothesis that women are a varied group and their risk attitudes are sensitive to even slight contextual alterations. The main subject of the paper is risk aversion – one of the most important factors believed to differentiate women from men and affecting their incomes, social status and generally professional success. The main aim of the study is to demonstrate that risk aversion is not absolute and immune to manipulations. The paper shows that women are a much more diverse group than many papers claim and risk attitudes are sensitive to slight modifications, including used measures, and is strongly affected by social and cultural factors.
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