Journal article

Room composition effects on risk taking by gender

Marco Castillo, Greg Leo, Ragan Petrie

Experimental Economics | Springer (part of Springer Nature) | Published : 2020

Abstract

We present evidence of a direct social context effect on decision-making under uncertainty: the gender composition of those in the room when making individual risky decisions significantly alters choices even when the actions or presence of others are not payoff relevant. In our environment, decision makers do not know the choices made by others, nor can they be inferred from the experiment. We find that women become more risk taking as the proportion of men in the room increases, but the behavior of men is unaffected by who is present. We discuss some potential mechanisms for this result and conjecture it is driven by women being aware of the social context and imitating the expected behavi..

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