Holding Fast: The Persistence and Dominance of Gender Stereotypes

By Grossman, Philip J. | Economic Inquiry, January 2013 | Go to article overview

Holding Fast: The Persistence and Dominance of Gender Stereotypes


Grossman, Philip J., Economic Inquiry


I. INTRODUCTION

In any number of situations it may be necessary for one party to make judgments as to the risk preferences of another: a lawyer negotiating a plea agreement for her client; a financial advisor developing an investment plan for a family; a doctor prescribing a course of treatment for his patient; or a real estate agent recommending how to market a seller's property. Often this judgment is based on fairly limited information. In many cases, the prediction may be based on little more than the predictor's "read" of the individual. Financial advisors frequently have their clients complete a short risk assessment survey, but even this type of instrument is likely to give only a cursory indication of a client's true risk preferences and is likely not tested for reliability. In such circumstances, predicting the risk preferences of another may constitute a guess informed by little more than visual or verbal clues provided in a brief meeting. Lacking more relevant information, the predictor may resort to stereotypes to inform his prediction.

Stereotyping is the act of assigning to a member of a particular group a characteristic or trait based solely on the individual's membership in that group. An individual is not seen as a distinct being with his own individual attributes but solely as a member of a group conforming to some pattern. In cases where individuating, judgment-relevant information is not available, drawing on stereotypes may improve one's ability to predict another's actions (assuming the stereotype contains some kernel of truth). When presented with individuating, judgment-relevant information regarding the characteristic or action being predicted, downplaying any stereotype in favor of this information should improve the accuracy of predictions.

Whether men and women differ in their attitudes toward risk and in their willingness to accept risk is the subject of much debate. Most evidence suggests that women perceive situations as inherently riskier than men perceive the same situations, women engage in less risky behavior, and they choose alternatives that involve less risk. (1) Consistent with the evidence of a gender difference in risk aversion, Ball, Eckel, and Heracleous (2010), Daruvala (2007), Eckel and Grossman (2008, EG hereafter), Grossman and Lugovskyy (2011), and Siegrist, Cvetkovich, and Gutscher (2002) report evidence suggesting that women are perceived to be more risk averse than men; when predicting the risk choices of others, experiment subjects apply the gender stereotype.

This paper tests the relative importance of individuating information and gender stereotypes when predicting the risk preferences of others. For this study, all subjects participate in a four-part experiment. First, each subject completes a risk-assessment survey. Second, they then each select a gamble to play from a set of six gambles differing in expected payoff and degree of risk. Third, each subject then attempts to predict the gamble choice of every other subject. In one treatment, subjects make initial predictions having only visual clues regarding each subject (i.e., subjects stand up one at a time). Fourth, subjects are permitted to revise their predictions after being provided individuating information (i.e., the other subjects' responses to two of the risk-assessment survey questions). In the second treatment, the order is reversed and initial predictions are first made based on survey responses and then predictions are reassessed based upon visual clues.

I find: (1) additional evidence of the existence of gender stereotyping, and more importantly, (2) the persistence of such stereotyping even when other individuating, both judgment-relevant and judgment-irrelevant, information is provided. Results indicate that in isolation both the gender stereotype and the individuating information condition initial predictions. However, and more importantly, when visual clues are provided first, the revised predictions, after a subject's survey responses are known, only marginally reduce the evidence of stereotyping.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Holding Fast: The Persistence and Dominance of Gender Stereotypes
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.