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Can we measure Individual Risk Attitudes in a Survey?

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  • Xiaohao Ding

    (Peking University)

  • Joop Hartog

    (University of Amsterdam)

  • Yuze Sun

    (Peking University)

Abstract

We combine a survey and an experiment with real pay-out among Peking University students to measure and validate individual risk attitudes. The experiment involves choosing between a cash payment and playing a lottery. The survey questions ask for the reservation price of a hypothetical lottery and self-assessment of risk attitude on a 0-10 scale. We confirm familiar findings: risk aversion dominates, women are more risk averse than men, risk aversion decreases with increasing parental income, risk attitudes are domain-specific. Correlations between survey measures and experimental measures, are in the right direction, but not very high. The survey measures are valid indicators of experimentally measured risk attitude, but with substantial noise remaining. Heterogeneity in levels and structure of risk attitude is large.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Tinbergen Institute in its series Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers with number 10-027/3.

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Date of creation: 03 Mar 2010
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Handle: RePEc:dgr:uvatin:20100027

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Web page: http://www.tinbergen.nl

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Keywords: risk attitude; survey question; experimental validation;

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  1. Thomas Dohmen & Armin Falk & David Huffman & Uwe Sunde & Juergen Schupp & Gert Wagner, 2005. "Individual Risk Attitudes: New Evidence from a Large, Representative, Experimentally-Validated Survey," Working Papers 2096, The Field Experiments Website.
  2. Diaz-Serrano, Luis & O'Neill, Donal, 2004. "The Relationship between Unemployment and Risk-Aversion," IZA Discussion Papers 1214, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  3. Luigi Guiso & Monica Paiella, 2008. "Risk Aversion, Wealth, and Background Risk," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 6(6), pages 1109-1150, December.
  4. 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.
  5. Scott Fausti & Jeffrey Gillespie, 2006. "Measuring risk attitude of agricultural producers using a mail survey: how consistent are the methods?," Australian Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics, Australian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society, vol. 50(2), pages 171-188, 06.
  6. 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.
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