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Cross-sectional earnings risk and occupational sorting: The role of risk attitudes

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  • Bonin, Holger
  • Dohmen, Thomas
  • Falk, Armin
  • Huffman, David
  • Sunde, Uwe

Abstract

This paper investigates to what extent individuals’ risk preferences are correlated with the cross-sectional earnings risk of their occupation. We exploit data from the German Socio-Economic Panel, which contains a direct survey question about willingness to take risks that has been shown to be a behaviorally valid measure of risk aversion. As a measure of earnings risk, we use the cross-sectional variation in earnings that is left unexplained by human capital variables in Mincerian wage regressions. Our evidence shows that individuals with low willingness to take risks are more likely to work in occupations with low earnings risk. This pattern is found regardless of the level of occupation categories, region, gender and labor market experience.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Labour Economics.

Volume (Year): 14 (2007)
Issue (Month): 6 (December)
Pages: 926-937

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Handle: RePEc:eee:labeco:v:14:y:2007:i:6:p:926-937

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  1. E. Elisabet Rutstrom & Glenn W. Harrison & Morten I. Lau, 2004. "Estimating Risk Attitudes in Denmark," Econometric Society 2004 Australasian Meetings 201, Econometric Society.
  2. Marco Caliendo & Frank Fossen & Alexander Kritikos, 2009. "Risk attitudes of nascent entrepreneurs–new evidence from an experimentally validated survey," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 32(2), pages 153-167, February.
  3. Jacob A. Mincer, 1974. "Introduction to "Schooling, Experience, and Earnings"," NBER Chapters, in: Schooling, Experience, and Earnings, pages 1-4 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Fitzenberger, Bernd & Kunze, Astrid, 2005. "Vocational Training and Gender: Wages and Occupational Mobility among young Workers," ZEW Discussion Papers 05-66, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
  5. Joop Hartog & Erik Plug & Luis Diaz Serrano & Jose Vieira, 2003. "Risk compensation in wages – a replication," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 28(3), pages 639-647, July.
  6. Bonin, Holger & Dohmen, Thomas J. & Falk, Armin & Huffman, David & Sunde, Uwe, 2007. "Cross-sectional earnings risk and occupational sorting: The role of risk attitudes," Munich Reprints in Economics 20204, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  7. Dohmen, Thomas & Falk, Armin, 2011. "Performance Pay and Multidimensional Sorting - Productivity, Preferences and Gender," Discussion Paper Series of SFB/TR 15 Governance and the Efficiency of Economic Systems 360, Free University of Berlin, Humboldt University of Berlin, University of Bonn, University of Mannheim, University of Munich.
  8. Dohmen, Thomas J & Falk, Armin & Huffman, David & Schupp, Jürgen & Sunde, Uwe & Wagner, Gert Georg, 2006. "Individual Risk Attitudes: New Evidence from a Large, Representative, Experimentally-Validated Survey," CEPR Discussion Papers 5517, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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  15. Jacob A. Mincer, 1974. "Schooling, Experience, and Earnings," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number minc74-1, May.
  16. Ekelund, Jesper & Johansson, Edvard & Jarvelin, Marjo-Riitta & Lichtermann, Dirk, 2005. "Self-employment and risk aversion--evidence from psychological test data," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 12(5), pages 649-659, October.
  17. Brown, Charles, 1980. "Equalizing Differences in the Labor Market," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 94(1), pages 113-34, February.
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  19. Cramer, J. S. & Hartog, J. & Jonker, N. & Van Praag, C. M., 2002. "Low risk aversion encourages the choice for entrepreneurship: an empirical test of a truism," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 48(1), pages 29-36, May.
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