Althouse’ rule on sex-differences in action
A few years ago Ann Althouse told Bob Wright that there was an easy way to do sex-differences research without being pilloried: make sure that the generalizations work out so that they are flatter women. Over at Feministing, Are Women More Risk-Averse in Investing?:
A 2005 study from the Center for Financial Research at the University of Cologne documented differences between male and female fund managers: Women managers tended to take less extreme risk and to adopt more measured investment styles (which perform well over time). And according to research published in 2002 in the International Journal of Bank Marketing, women tend to make investment-related decisions with a detailed, comprehensive approach, while men are more likely to simplify data and make decisions based on an overall schema.
I always get nervous when scientists or sociologists start making wide-sweeping gender claims, but I’m also not scientifically sophisticated enough to evaluate whether these studies are valid.
Anyone have any thoughts?
Matt Yglesias says don’t worry. Well Matt, you should worry. Reality is often best understood on a case-by-case basis, but no matter how its joints are carved up there are numerous interlocking connections. To be a risk taking egomaniac is in bad odor today for obvious reasons. But do we want everyone in all domains to minimize risk? I doubt it. And I’m sure people can think of domains which are value-added to society where male risking taking is a benefit, and Right Thinking People know that when it comes to Good Things women are always at least as well endowed, if not more, than men, on average.