Risky Business: Precarious Manhood and Investment Portfolio Decisions

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Abstract

The precarious manhood paradigm posits that threats to masculinity are met with attempts to reassert masculinity. We investigated the precarious manhood paradigm as applied to investment risk and foreign/domestic investment decisions. We sampled 652 men online, and tested whether threats to masculinity resulted in increases in investment risk and domestic investments in a hypothetical investment portfolio decision task. Results indicated that there was a main effect of threat for investment risk, such that those in the threat condition were willing to invest more in riskier investments. There was also an interaction with general risk-taking, such that men lower in general risk-taking responded to the threat condition by increasing investment in riskier options, while men higher in general risk-taking did not. A main effect of condition did not emerge for domestic investment, but there was an interaction, such that men lower in financial knowledge responded to the threat condition by increasing domestic investments, but men higher in financial knowledge did not. These results suggest that threats to masculinity influence financial investment decisions, and suggest that person-level variables (e.g., risk-taking, knowledge) may buffer the effects of threats to masculinity.

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