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On a Simple Survey Measure of Individual Risk Aversion

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  • Joop Hartog
  • Ada Ferrer-i-Carbonell
  • Nicole Jonker

Abstract

We ask individuals for their reservation price of a specified lottery and deduce their Arrow-Pratt measure of risk aversion. This allows direct testing of common hy-poth-eses on risk atti-tudes in three datasets. We find that risk aversion indeed falls with income and wealth. Entre-preneurs are less risk averse than employees, civil servants are more risk averse than private sector employees, and women are more risk averse than men. We analyze six different specifications of the lottery question in a single data set and find quite consistent results. We conclude that a simple lottery ques-tion is a promising survey in-strument to extract differ-ences in risk attitudes among individuals.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by CESifo Group Munich in its series CESifo Working Paper Series with number 363.

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Date of creation: 2000
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Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_363

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  1. Binswanger, Hans P, 1981. "Attitudes toward Risk: Theoretical Implications of an Experiment in Rural India," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 91(364), pages 867-90, December.
  2. Gerrit de Wit & Niels Bosma & Mirjam van Praag, 2000. "Determinants of Successful Entrepreneurship," Scales Research Reports H200002, EIM Business and Policy Research.
  3. Battalio, Raymond C & Kagel, John H & Jiranyakul, Komain, 1990. " Testing between Alternative Models of Choice under Uncertainty: Some Initial Results," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 3(1), pages 25-50, March.
  4. Donkers, Bas & Melenberg, Bertrand & Van Soest, Arthur, 2001. " Estimating Risk Attitudes Using Lotteries: A Large Sample Approach," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 22(2), pages 165-95, March.
  5. Robert B. Barsky & Miles S. Kimball & F. Thomas Juster & Matthew D. Shapiro, 1995. "Preference Parameters and Behavioral Heterogeneity: An Experimental Approach in the Health and Retirement Survey," NBER Working Papers 5213, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Barsky, Robert B, et al, 1997. "Preference Parameters and Behavioral Heterogeneity: An Experimental Approach in the Health and Retirement Study," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 112(2), pages 537-79, May.
  7. Amos Tversky & Daniel Kahneman, 1979. "Prospect Theory: An Analysis of Decision under Risk," Levine's Working Paper Archive 7656, David K. Levine.
  8. Harless, David W & Camerer, Colin F, 1994. "The Predictive Utility of Generalized Expected Utility Theories," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 62(6), pages 1251-89, November.
  9. Friedman,Daniel & Sunder,Shyam, 1994. "Experimental Methods," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521456821, Fall.
  10. Hans Binswanger, 1980. "Attitudes toward risk: Experimental measurement in rural india," Artefactual Field Experiments 00009, The Field Experiments Website.
  11. van de Stadt, Huib & Antonides, Gerrit & van Praag, Bernard M. S., 1984. "Empirical testing of the expected utility model," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 5(1), pages 17-29, March.
  12. Evans, Dorla A, 1997. "The Role of Markets in Reducing Expected Utility Violations," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 105(3), pages 622-36, June.
  13. Don Bellante & Albert N. Link, 1981. "Are public sector workers more risk averse than private sector workers?," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 34(3), pages 408-412, April.
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Cited by:
  1. Hartley, Roger & Lanot, Gauthier & Walker, Ian, 2006. "Who really wants to be a millionaire? Estimates of risk aversion from gameshow data," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 747, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
  2. Eisenhauer, Joseph G., 2010. "Rank-ordering of risk preferences with conventional and discrete measures," The Quarterly Review of Economics and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 50(3), pages 291-297, August.
  3. Lisa R. Anderson & Jennifer M. Mellor, 2007. "Predicting Health Behaviors with an Experimental Measure of Risk Preference," Working Papers 59, Department of Economics, College of William and Mary.
  4. de Palma, André & Picard, Nathalie, 2005. "Route choice decision under travel time uncertainty," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 39(4), pages 295-324, May.
  5. André De Palma & Nathalie Picard, 2005. "Congestion on risky routes with risk adverse drivers," ERSA conference papers ersa05p423, European Regional Science Association.
  6. André de Palma & Nathalie Picard, 2004. "Route Choice behavior with risk averse users," THEMA Working Papers 2004-09, THEMA (THéorie Economique, Modélisation et Applications), Université de Cergy-Pontoise.

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