Abstract

This article explores the Lehman Sisters Hypothesis. It reviews empirical literature about gender differences in behavioral, experimental, and neuro-economics as well as in other fields of behavioral research. It discusses gender differences along three dimensions of financial behavior: risk aversion and response to uncertainty, ethics and moral attitude, and leadership. The article argues that gender stereotypes are influential in finance, constraining women to achieve top positions in banking and sustaining a strong masculine culture. At the same time, the analysis indicates that the few women who make it to the top tend to perform on average better than men, in particular under uncertainty. This is explained by a combination of gender beliefs, gender stereotypes, gender identity, and flexible biological processes. Although further research is necessary, the existing empirical literature would support a plea for having more rather than less women in financial trade, risk management, and at the top of the financial sector.

Additional Metadata
Keywords Lehman Sisters Hypothesis, gender, behavioral research, financial crisis
JEL Criteria for Decision-Making under Risk and Uncertainty (jel D81), Financial Crises (jel G01), Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination (jel J16)
Persistent URL dx.doi.org/doi: 10.1093/cje/beu010, hdl.handle.net/1765/77594
Series EUR-ISS-EDEM
Journal Cambridge Journal of Economics
Citation
van Staveren, I.P. (2014). The Lehman Sisters Hypothesis. Cambridge Journal of Economics, 38(5), 995–1014. doi:doi: 10.1093/cje/beu010