Intrepid, Imprudent, or Impetuous?: The Effects of Gender Threats on Men's Financial Decisions

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gender role threat, masculinity, precarious manhood, risk-taking, role violations, financial decisions

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Among the conjectured causes of the recent U.S. financial crisis is the hyper-masculine culture of Wall Street that promotes extreme risk-taking. In two experiments, we found that threats to their manhood motivated men to take greater financial risks and favor immediate (vs. delayed) fiscal rewards. In Experiment 1, men placed larger bets during a gambling game after a gender threat as compared to men in an affirmation condition. In Experiment 2, after a gender threat, men pursued an immediate financial payoff rather than waiting for interest to accrue, but only if they believed their decision was public. When the decision was private, gender-threatened men did not show the same desire for immediate reward. These results suggest that gender threats may shift men's financial decisions toward more risky and short-sighted public choices.

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Psychology of Men & Masculinity, v. 14, issue 2, p. 184-191