Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics

Working Paper Series,
IFAU - Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy

No 2013:1: Examination behavior – Gender differences in preferences?

Lena Nekby (), Peter Skogman Thoursie () and Lars Vahtrik ()
Additional contact information
Lena Nekby: Department of Economics, Stockholm University, Postal: Sweden
Peter Skogman Thoursie: IFAU - Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy, Postal: Sweden
Lars Vahtrik: Department of Economics, Stockholm University, Postal: Sweden

Abstract: A unique examination strategy in first year microeconomics courses is used to test for gender differences in preferences in examination behavior. Students have the possibility of attaining a seminar bonus on the final exam for near-perfect seminar attendance and are given two voluntary initial quizzes during the semester. At the final exam, the scores received on initial quizzes can either be accepted as is, or students can attempt to improve their marks by answering similar quiz questions on the exam. Results suggest that female students are more likely to take initial quizzes and receive a seminar bonus but are less likely to re-take quiz-questions on the final exam. These results suggest higher risk aversion among female students relative to male students, behavioral differences with tangible implications in terms of final grades on the course.

Keywords: Gender; preferences; risk aversion; overconfidence

JEL-codes: A12; A14; J16

23 pages, January 10, 2013

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