Date of Graduation
Eberly College of Arts and Sciences
Past research indicates that men tend to be more financially risk tolerant than women, and declines in self-reported risk tolerance are common with age. A life-span sample of adult men and women were recruited to investigate these gender- and age-related patterns using an ecologically valid measure of financial risk tolerance. As previously found, men reported greater risk tolerance than women, and risk tolerance declined with age. Biological mechanisms, such as testosterone, are often implicated in men's tendency to be more financially risk tolerant than women. In the present study, psychological gender mechanisms (i.e., masculine traits and roles, feminine traits, gender identification and typicality) were tested against a widely used biological measurement of testosterone, 2D:4D digit ratio. The biological measure was unrelated to risk tolerance, but psychological gender mechanisms were associated with risk tolerance. Masculinity (traits and roles) was associated with greater risk tolerance in men and women across the life span, but no gender mechanisms mediated the association between age and financial risk tolerance. Next, the associations between financial risk tolerance and future time perspective (i.e., focus on opportunities, focus on limitations) and the affect heuristic were tested. A greater focus on opportunities and less reliance on the affect heuristic (i.e., not viewing risk and benefits as inversely related) were associated with increased risk tolerance in men and women across the life span. Focus on opportunities fully mediated the association between age and financial risk tolerance. Implications of these findings and future directions are discussed.
Lemaster, Philip, "Gender and Financial Risk Tolerance across the Life Span" (2014). Graduate Theses, Dissertations, and Problem Reports. 7326.