Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics

Working Paper Series,
Research Institute of Industrial Economics

No 1275: Gender Differences in Optimism

Carl Magnus Bjuggren () and Niklas Elert ()
Additional contact information
Carl Magnus Bjuggren: Research Institute of Industrial Economics (IFN), Postal: Research Institute of Industrial Economics, Box 55665, SE-102 15 Stockholm, Sweden, and University of Memphis, United States
Niklas Elert: Research Institute of Industrial Economics (IFN), Postal: Research Institute of Industrial Economics, Box 55665, SE-102 15 Stockholm, Sweden

Abstract: This paper examines gender differences in optimism about the economy. We measure optimism using Swedish survey data in which respondents stated their beliefs about the country’s future economic situation. We argue that this measure of optimism is preferable to common measurements in the literature since it avoids confounding individuals’ economic situation with their perception of the future and it can be compared to economic indicators. In line with previous research, we find that men are more optimistic than women; however, men are also more prone to be wrong in their beliefs about the future economic situation. Furthermore, in sharp economic downturns, the gender differences in optimism disappear. This convergence in beliefs can be explained by the amount of available information on the economy.

Keywords: Gender; Optimism; Perception of the future; Economic downturns

JEL-codes: D83; J16

26 pages, April 25, 2019

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