Is it my money or not? An experiment on risk aversion and the house-money effect
AbstractThe house-money effect, understood as people’s tendency to be more daring with easily-gotten money, is a behavioral pattern that poses questions about the external validity of experiments in economics: to what extent do people behave in experiments like they would have in a real-life situation, given that they play with easily-gotten house money? We ran an economic experiment with 122 students to measure the house-money effect on their risk preferences. They received an amount of money with which they made risky decisions involving losses and gains; a randomly selected treatment group received the money 21 days in advance and a control group got it the day of the experiment. From a simple calculation we found that participants in the treatment group only spent on average approximately 35 % of their cash in advance. The data confirms the well documented results that men are more tolerant to risk than women, and that individuals in general are more risk tolerant towards losses than towards gains. With our preferred specification, we find a mean CRRA risk aversion coefficient of 0.34, with a standard deviation of 0.09. Furthermore, if subjects in the treatment group spent 35 % of the endowment their CRRA risk aversion coefficient is higher than that of the control group by approximately 0.3 standard deviations. We interpret this result as evidence of a small and indirect house money effect operating though the amount of the cash in advance that was actually spent. We conclude that the house money effect may play a small role in decisions under uncertainty, especially when involving losses. Our novel design, however, could be used for other domains of decision making both in the lab and for calibration of economic models used in micro and macroeconomics. Copyright Economic Science Association 2014
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
Bibliographic InfoArticle provided by Springer in its journal Experimental Economics.
Volume (Year): 17 (2014)
Issue (Month): 1 (March)
Contact details of provider:
Web page: http://www.springerlink.com/link.asp?id=102888
House-money effect; Risk aversion; Prospect theory; Economic experiment; External validity; C910; D120; D810;
Find related papers by JEL classification:
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Bosch-Domènech, Antoni & Silvestre, Joaquim, 2010.
"Averting risk in the face of large losses: Bernoulli vs. Tversky and Kahneman,"
Elsevier, vol. 107(2), pages 180-182, May.
- Antoni Bosch-Domènech & Joaquim Silvestre, 2006. "Averting risk in the face of large losses: Bernoulli vs. Tversky and Kahneman," Economics Working Papers 932, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
- GlennW. Harrison & StevenJ. Humphrey & Arjan Verschoor, 2010. "Choice under Uncertainty: Evidence from Ethiopia, India and Uganda," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 120(543), pages 80-104, 03.
- Lucy Ackert & Narat Charupat & Bryan Church & Richard Deaves, 2006.
"An experimental examination of the house money effect in a multi-period setting,"
Springer, vol. 9(1), pages 5-16, April.
- Lucy F. Ackert & Narat Charupat & Bryan K. Church & James Tompkins & Richard Deaves, 2003. "An experimental examination of the house money effect in a multi-period setting," Working Paper 2003-13, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.
- Amos Tversky & Daniel Kahneman, 1979.
"Prospect Theory: An Analysis of Decision under Risk,"
Levine's Working Paper Archive
7656, David K. Levine.
- Kahneman, Daniel & Tversky, Amos, 1979. "Prospect Theory: An Analysis of Decision under Risk," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 47(2), pages 263-91, March.
- Cardenas, Juan Camilo & Carpenter, Jeffrey, 2013. "Risk attitudes and economic well-being in Latin America," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 103(C), pages 52-61.
- Richard H. Thaler & Eric J. Johnson, 1990. "Gambling with the House Money and Trying to Break Even: The Effects of Prior Outcomes on Risky Choice," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 36(6), pages 643-660, June.
- Orazio Attanasio & Abigail Barr & Juan Camilo Cardenas & Garance Genicot & Costas Meghir, 2012.
"Risk Pooling, Risk Preferences, and Social Networks,"
American Economic Journal: Applied Economics,
American Economic Association, vol. 4(2), pages 134-67, April.
- Garance Genicot, Orazio Attanasio, Abigail Barr, Juan Camilo Cardenas and Costas Meghir, 2011. "Risk Pooling, Risk Preferences, and Social Networks," Working Papers gueconwpa~11-11-05, Georgetown University, Department of Economics.
- Abigail Barr & Orazio Attanasio, 2009. "Risk Pooling, Risk Preferences, and Social Networks," Economics Series Working Papers CSAE WPS/2009-20, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
- Orazio Attansio & Abigail Barr & Juan Camilo Cardenas & Garance Genicot & Costas Mehgir, 2009. "Risk Pooling, Risk preferences, and Social Networks," CSAE Working Paper Series 2009-20, Centre for the Study of African Economies, University of Oxford.
- Hans Binswanger, 1980. "Attitudes toward risk: Experimental measurement in rural india," Artefactual Field Experiments 00009, The Field Experiments Website.
- Todd L. Cherry & Peter Frykblom & Jason F. Shogren, 2002.
"Hardnose the Dictator,"
American Economic Review,
American Economic Association, vol. 92(4), pages 1218-1221, September.
- Hey, John D & Orme, Chris, 1994. "Investigating Generalizations of Expected Utility Theory Using Experimental Data," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 62(6), pages 1291-1326, November.
- Juan Camilo Cardenas & Jeffrey Carpenter, 2008.
"Behavioural Development Economics: Lessons from Field Labs in the Developing World,"
Journal of Development Studies,
Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 44(3), pages 311-338.
- Jeffery Carpenter & Juan Camilo Cardenas, 2006. "Behavioural Development Economics: Lessons from field labs in the developing world," Middlebury College Working Paper Series 0616, Middlebury College, Department of Economics.
- Keasey, Kevin & Moon, Philip, 1996. "Gambling with the house money in capital expenditure decisions: An experimental analysis," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 50(1), pages 105-110, January.
- Francesco Guala & Luigi Mittone, 2005. "Experiments in economics: External validity and the robustness of phenomena," Journal of Economic Methodology, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 12(4), pages 495-515.
- Guala,Francesco, 2005.
"The Methodology of Experimental Economics,"
Cambridge University Press, number 9780521618618.
- Keeler, James P & James, William L & Abdel-Ghany, Mohamed, 1985. "The Relative Size of Windfall Income and the Permanent Income Hypothesis," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 3(3), pages 209-15, June.
- Jeremy Clark, 2002. "House Money Effects in Public Good Experiments," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 5(3), pages 223-231, December.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Guenther Eichhorn) or (Christopher F. Baum).
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.