Using a controlled experiment, we investigate if individuals’ risk preferences are affected by (i) the gender composition of the group to which they are randomly assigned, and (ii) the gender mix of the school they attend. Our subjects, from eight publicly funded single-sex and coeducational schools, were asked to choose between a real-stakes lottery and a sure bet. We found that girls in an all-girls group or attending a single-sex school were more likely than their coed counterparts to choose a real-stakes gamble. This suggests that observed gender differences in behaviour under uncertainty found in previous studies might reflect social learning rather than inherent gender traits.
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