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New journal article by Dániel Horn, Hubert János Kiss and Tünde Lénárd

Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Volume 194, February 2022


Gender differences in preferences of adolescents:

Evidence from a large-scale classroom experiment


       • We estimate gender gaps in preferences of 1088 high school students in 53 classrooms.

       • Incentivized experimental data are linked to rich administrative background data.

       • Our class fixed effects models show that females are more altruistic than males.

       • They are also less present biased, trusting, trustworthy and competitive than males.

       • Extensive controls eliminate the gender gap in risk tolerance.


In this study, we estimate unadjusted and adjusted gender gaps in time preference, risk attitudes, altruism, trust, trustworthiness, cooperation, and competitiveness using data on 1088 high school students from 53 classes. These data, collected by running incentivized experiments in Hungarian classrooms, are linked to an administrative data source on the students’ standardized test scores, grades and family background. After taking into account class fixed effects, we find that females are significantly more altruistic, but are less present biased, less risk tolerant, less trusting, less trustworthy, and less competitive than males. At the same time we do not observe significant gender differences in patience, time inconsistency and cooperation at the 5% significance level. We also show that most of these initial gender differences do not change even if we control for age, family background, cognitive skills and school grades in a regression framework. We risk over-control when we include the time spent on each task as well as the other preference domains in our regressions, but the gender gap remains significant in social preferences (altruism, trust and trustworthiness), present bias and competition.


Adolescents, Altruism, Competitiveness, Cooperation, Dictator game, Patience, Present bias, Public goods game, Risk preferences, Social preferences, Time inconsistency, Time preferences, Trust, Trustworthiness

JEL classification: C80, C90, D91
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