Journal of Financial Services Marketing

, Volume 23, Issue 2, pp 128–139 | Cite as

Women are scaredy-cats and men are conquerors?

Gender specifics in financial investments
  • Jürg Hari
  • Elisabeth Pirsch
  • Heike Rawitzer
Original Article


The European legal framework requires that financial consultants assess their clients’ risk tolerance before advising them on investments. The study aims at further testing an alternative measure to quantify the risk attitudes of investors: The Implicit Association Test (IAT). This study examines differences in implicit, unconscious, and explicit cognitive attitudes of men and women. The results of the IAT are compared with their answers from a risk tolerance questionnaire used by practitioners and self-selected asset allocation (portfolio). The data show that implicit attitude, and, thus, unconscious and uncontrolled thinking, can differ from conscious processes. Furthermore, in this study, there is no gender gap in risk attitude and risk tolerance. The findings suggest that experience and financial knowledge are likely the most important determinants of risk attitudes with no significant difference between men and women.


Risk profiling Financial industry Implicit Association Test Risk attitudes Gender Unconscious thinking 


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Copyright information

© Macmillan Publishers Ltd., part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jürg Hari
    • 1
    • 4
  • Elisabeth Pirsch
    • 2
    • 4
  • Heike Rawitzer
    • 3
    • 4
  1. 1.WinterthurSwitzerland
  2. 2.LondonUK
  3. 3.WinterthurSwitzerland
  4. 4.Zurich University of Applied SciencesWinterthurSwitzerland

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