Henriëtte Prast Mariacristina Rossi Costanza Torricelli Dario Sansone

Do Women Prefer Pink? The Effect of a Gender Stereotypical Stock Portfolio on Investing Decisions

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We investigate whether lack of familiarity with the companies in the stock market index may contribute to a gender gap in stock market participation and risk taking. We consider the Netherlands because recent reforms have reduced the generosity of mandatory pension and social security arrangements and created the need for many employees to decide on how to allocate (pension) savings. Moreover, the gender gap in pensions in the Nether- lands is above that of the OECD average. We construct a «pink» portfolio with stocks that are supposed to be more familiar to women (based on ads in widely read women magazines) and a «blue» one with stocks from the market index (AEX). We then ask members of the CentERpanel how they would allocate a certain amount of pension wealth between govern- ment bonds and a stock portfolio, whereby half of respondents, randomly selected, are given the pink portfolio and half the blue one as an alternative to bonds. Based on a set of limited dependent variable models, we find that familiarity is correlated to decision time for women, but it affects risk-taking only for women over 60. We do find a strong response order effect on risk taking, which moreover is larger for women than for men, and interpret the latter as reflecting a gender gap in confidence.


  • gender differences
  • portfolio choice
  • familiarity


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