We investigate whether lack of familiarity may contribute to an explanation of the gender gap in stock market participation and risk taking. We use ads in widely read women magazines to select companies that are most familiar to women and construct a “pink” portfolio. We ask members of the CentERpanel how they would allocate 100.000 euro of pension wealth. Half of respondents are given the choice between government bonds and a portfolio consisting of companies most traded at Amsterdam Exchanges, while the other half can choose between government bonds and our “pink” portfolio. We find that significantly more women than men choose not to respond after having seen the question and that respondents tend to allocate their hypothetical savings fifty-fifty over stocks and bonds, which we interpret as not choosing. We find a pink portfolio effect among older women, and a significant of framing which is larger for women than for men. We also find that women who already own stocks allocate significantly more to the stock basket than women who do not, which may be interpreted as an effect of familiarity. We find no such effect among men. Our evidence does not indicate that lack of familiarity with the largest companies most traded at the Amsterdam stock exchange results in a gender gap in the allocation of savings over bonds and stocks. However, we do find a significant effect of a gender gap in familiarity on the time to decide about allocating savings. In the pink portfolio condition it takes women significantly less time to decide on their wealth allocation than in the Amsterdam Exchanges condition, while we find no such difference among men. Moreover, women who are assigned to the pink condition judge the allocation decision as more thought-provoking than in the traditional index condition, which is again an effect we do not find for men.
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