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Risk loving after the storm: A Bayesian-Network study of Hurricane Katrina evacuees

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  • Eckel, Catherine C.
  • El-Gamal, Mahmoud A.
  • Wilson, Rick K.

Abstract

We investigate risk preferences of a sample of hurricane Katrina evacuees shortly after they were evacuated and transported to Houston, and another sample from the same population taken a year later. We also consider a third sample of resident Houstonians with demographics similar to the Katrina evacuees. Conventional statistical methods fail to explain a strong risk-loving bias in the first Katrina-evacuees sample. We utilize Bayesian Networks to investigate all relevant conditional distributions for gamble choices, demographic variables, and responses to psychometric questionnaires. We uncover surprising results: Contrary to prior experimental evidence, we find that women in our sample were significantly more risk loving in the first Katrina sample and only mildly more risk averse in the other two samples. We find that gamble choices are best predicted by positive-emotion variables. We therefore explain the risk-loving choices of the first Katrina-evacuees sample by the detected primacy of negative-emotion variables in that sample and explain the latter by traumatic and heightened-stress experiences shortly after the hurricane.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization.

Volume (Year): 69 (2009)
Issue (Month): 2 (February)
Pages: 110-124

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Handle: RePEc:eee:jeborg:v:69:y:2009:i:2:p:110-124

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  1. Jianakoplos, Nancy Ammon & Bernasek, Alexandra, 1998. "Are Women More Risk Averse?," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 36(4), pages 620-30, October.
  2. Eckel, Catherine C. & Grossman, Philip J., 2008. "Differences in the Economic Decisions of Men and Women: Experimental Evidence," Handbook of Experimental Economics Results, Elsevier.
  3. Charles A. Holt & Susan K. Laury, 2002. "Risk Aversion and Incentive Effects," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(5), pages 1644-1655, December.
  4. Catherine C. Eckel & Philip J. Grossman, 2008. "Sex and Risk: Experimental Evidence," Development Research Unit Working Paper Series archive-09, Monash University, Department of Economics.
  5. Catherine C. Eckel & Philip J. Grossman, 2002. "Sex Differences and Statistical Stereotyping in Attitudes Toward Financial Risk," Development Research Unit Working Paper Series archive-03, Monash University, Department of Economics.
  6. Catherine C. Eckel & Philip J. Grossman, 2008. "Forecasting Risk Attitudes: An Experimental Study Using Actual and Forecast Gamble Choices," Development Research Unit Working Paper Series archive-01, Monash University, Department of Economics.
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Cited by:
  1. Filippin, A. & Crosetto, P., 2014. "A reconsideration of gender differences in risk attitudes," Working Papers 2014-01, Grenoble Applied Economics Laboratory (GAEL).
  2. Treffers, T. & Koellinger, Ph.D. & Picot, A.O., 2012. "In the Mood for Risk? A Random-Assignment Experiment Addressing the Effects of Moods on Risk Preferences," ERIM Report Series Research in Management ERS-2012-014-ORG, Erasmus Research Institute of Management (ERIM), ERIM is the joint research institute of the Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University and the Erasmus School of Economics (ESE) at Erasmus Uni.
  3. Cameron, Lisa A. & Shah, Manisha, 2012. "Risk-Taking Behavior in the Wake of Natural Disasters," IZA Discussion Papers 6756, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  4. Leonardo Becchetti & Stefano Castriota & Pierluigi Conzo, 2012. "Calamity, Aid and Indirect Reciprocity: the Long Run Impact of Tsunami on Altruism," CSEF Working Papers 316, Centre for Studies in Economics and Finance (CSEF), University of Naples, Italy.
  5. Lionel Page & David A. Savage & Benno Torgler, 2013. "Variation in risk seeking behavior following large losses: A natural experiment," QuBE Working Papers 007, QUT Business School.
  6. Mohamed Ali Bchir & Marc Willinger, 2013. "Does the exposure to natural hazards affect risk and time preferences? Some insights from a field experiment in PerĂș," Working Papers 13-04, LAMETA, Universtiy of Montpellier, revised Mar 2013.
  7. Dupas, Pascaline & Robinson, Jonathan, 2012. "The (hidden) costs of political instability: Evidence from Kenya's 2007 election crisis," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 99(2), pages 314-329.
  8. Ginger Turner & Farah Said & Uzma Afzal, 2014. "Microinsurance Demand After a Rare Flood Event: Evidence From a Field Experiment in Pakistan," The Geneva Papers on Risk and Insurance - Issues and Practice, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 39(2), pages 201-223, April.
  9. Charness, Gary & Gneezy, Uri & Kuhn, Michael A., 2013. "Experimental methods: Extra-laboratory experiments-extending the reach of experimental economics," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 91(C), pages 93-100.
  10. Tai-Sen HE & Fuhai HONG, 2014. "Exposure to Risk and Risk Aversion: A Laboratory Experiment," Economic Growth centre Working Paper Series 1403, Nanyang Technolgical University, School of Humanities and Social Sciences, Economic Growth centre.
  11. Marco Castillo & Michael Carter, 2011. "Behavioral Responses to Natural Disasters," Working Papers 1026, George Mason University, Interdisciplinary Center for Economic Science.
  12. Alessandro Bucciol & Luca Zarri, 2013. "Financial Risk Aversion and Personal Life History," Working Papers 05/2013, University of Verona, Department of Economics.

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