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Variation in Risk Seeking Behavior in a Natural Experiment on Large Losses Induced by a Natural Disaster

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  • Lionel Page
  • David A. Savage
  • Benno Torgler

Abstract

This study explores people’s risk attitudes after having suffered large real-world losses following a natural disaster. Using the margins of the 2011 Australian floods (Brisbane) as a natural experimental setting, we find that homeowners who were victims of the floods and face large losses in property values are 50% more likely to opt for a risky gamble – a scratch card giving a small chance of a large gain ($500,000) - than for a sure amount of comparable value ($10). This finding is consistent with prospect theory predictions of the adoption of a risk-seeking attitude after a loss.

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File URL: http://www.cesifo-group.de/portal/page/portal/DocBase_Content/WP/WP-CESifo_Working_Papers/wp-cesifo-2012/wp-cesifo-2012-07/cesifo1_wp3878.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by CESifo Group Munich in its series CESifo Working Paper Series with number 3878.

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Date of creation: 2012
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Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_3878

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Keywords: decision under risk; large losses; natural experiment;

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  1. Lisa Cameron & Manisha Shah, 2013. "Risk-Taking Behavior in the Wake of Natural Disasters," NBER Working Papers 19534, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Eeckhoudt, Louis & Gollier, Christian & Schlesinger, Harris, 1996. "Changes in Background Risk and Risk-Taking Behavior," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 64(3), pages 683-89, May.
  3. Steffen Andersen & James C. Cox & Glenn W. Harrison & Morten Lau & E. Elisabet Rutström & Vjollca Sadiraj, 2012. "Asset Integration and Attitudes to Risk: Theory and Evidence," Experimental Economics Center Working Paper Series 2012-12, Experimental Economics Center, Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, Georgia State University.
  4. Sujoy Mukerji & Peter Klibanoff, 2002. "A Smooth Model of Decision,Making Under Ambiguity," Economics Series Working Papers 113, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  5. Glenn W Harrison & John A List & Charles Towe, 2007. "Naturally Occurring Preferences and Exogenous Laboratory Experiments: A Case Study of Risk Aversion," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 75(2), pages 433-458, 03.
  6. Mohammed Abdellaoui & Han Bleichrodt & Olivier L’Haridon, 2008. "A tractable method to measure utility and loss aversion under prospect theory," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 36(3), pages 245-266, June.
  7. Nathalie Etchart-Vincent & Olivier L'Haridon, 2011. "Monetary incentives in the loss domain and behavior toward risk: An experimental comparison of three reward schemes including real losses," Université Paris1 Panthéon-Sorbonne (Post-Print and Working Papers) hal-00742027, HAL.
  8. 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.
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