Gender, risk preferences and willingness to compete in a random sample of the Swedish population

Anne Boschini, Anna Dreber, Emma von Essen*, Astri Muren, Eva Ranehill

*Corresponding author for this work

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Experimental results from student and other non-representative convenience samples often suggest that men, on average, are more risk taking and competitive than women. We explore whether these gender preference gaps also exist in incentivized tasks in a simple random sample of the Swedish adult population. Our design comprises four different conditions to systematically explore how the experimental context may impact gender gaps; a baseline condition, a condition where participants are primed with their own gender, and two conditions where the participants know the gender of their counterpart (man or woman). We further look at competitiveness in two domains: a math task and a verbal task. We find no gender gap in risk taking or competitiveness in the verbal task in this random sample. There is some support for men being more competitive than women in the math task in the pooled sample, but the effect size is small. We further find no consistent impact of the respective conditions on (the absence of) the gender gap in preferences.

Original languageEnglish
Article number101467
JournalJournal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2019


  • Competitiveness
  • Experiment
  • Gender differences
  • Random representative sample
  • Risk taking


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