Seven Ways to Knit Your Portfolio: Is Investor Communication Neutral?

C. Boggio, E. Fornero, H.M. Prast, J. Sanders

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The concept of familiarity has been used in finance theory to explain apparent paradoxes in people's behavior, such as the home bias in portfolio choices. This study investigates whether (lack of) familiarity with the language of financial consumers may contribute to an explanation of the well-documented gender gap in financial decision-making. Using an interdisciplinary framework that combines insights from Behavioral Economics, Finance, Social Psychology and Applied Linguistics, we analyze the metaphors used in websites that target beginning retail investors in three different languages; Dutch, Italian and English. We find that in all three languages the metaphors used come from the same conceptual domains; namely, war, health, physical activity, game, farming and the five senses. As these domains refer to worlds that are predominantly masculine, we conclude that the language used to address financial consumers may give rise to feelings of familiarity and belonging among men, while creating feelings of distance and non- belonging among women.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationTilburg
Number of pages33
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2015

Publication series

NameNETSPAR Academic Series


  • familiarity
  • gender gap
  • investor behavior
  • financial communication
  • cognitive metaphor theory


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