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Why Are Women More Religious than Men? Do Risk Preferences and Genetic Risk Predispositions Explain the Gender Gap?

Citation

Li, Yi; Woodberry, Robert; Liu, Hexuan; & Guo, Guang (2020). Why Are Women More Religious than Men? Do Risk Preferences and Genetic Risk Predispositions Explain the Gender Gap?. Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, 59(2), 289-310.

Abstract

Risk preference theory argues that the gender gap in religiosity is caused by greater female risk aversion. Although widely debated, risk preference theory has been inadequately tested. Our study tests the theory directly with phenotypic and genetic risk preferences in three dimensions-general, impulsive, and sensation-seeking risk. Moreover, we examine whether the effects of different dimensions of risk preferences on the gender gap vary across different dimensions of religiosity. We find that general and impulsive risk preferences do not explain gender differences in religiosity, whereas sensation-seeking risk preference makes the gender gap in self-assessed religiousness and church attendance insignificant, but not belief in God, prayer, or importance of religion. Genetic risk preferences do not remove any of the gender gaps in religiosity, suggesting that the causal order is not from risk preference to religiosity. Evidence suggests that risk preferences are not a strong predictor for gender differences in religiosity.

URL

http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/jssr.12657

Reference Type

Journal Article

Journal Title

Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion

Author(s)

Li, Yi
Woodberry, Robert
Liu, Hexuan
Guo, Guang

Year Published

2020

Volume Number

59

Issue Number

2

Pages

289-310

Reference ID

12716