Get access

ARE WOMEN MORE RISK AVERSE?

Authors

  • NANCY AMMON JIANAKOPLOS,

    1. Associate Professor, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Phone 1–970-491-6537 Fax 1–970-491-2925 E-mail njianakoplos@vines.ColoState.edu
    Search for more papers by this author
  • ALEXANDRA BERNASEK

    1. Associate Professor, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Phone 1–970-491-6856 Fax 1–970-491-2925 E-mail abernasek@vines.ColoState.edu
    Search for more papers by this author
    • *Earlier versions of this paper were presented at Western Economic Association International conferences in 1994 and 1996. The authors wish to thank Paul L. Menchik and Robert Denk for providing data in a timely manner. We also wish to acknowledge helpful comments and material from L. S. Fan, Judy Gordon, Jileen Westbrook, the editor, and three anonymous referees.


Abstract

We find that single women exhibit relatively more risk aversion in financial decision making than single men. Using U.S. sample data, we examine household holdings of risky assets to determine whether there are gender differences in financial risk taking. As wealth increases, the proportion of wealth held as risky assets is estimated to increase by a smaller amount for single women than for single men. Gender differences in financial risk taking are also influenced by age, race, and number of children. Greater financial risk aversion may provide an explanation for women's lower levels of wealth compared with men's. (JEL J16, D81, G11)

Ancillary