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Learning By Doing In An Ambiguous Environment

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  • Jim Engle-Warnick

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  • Sonia Laszlo Author Email: sonia.laszlo@mcgill.ca

Abstract

We experimentally test whether risk aversion or ambiguity aversion can explain decisions in a learning by doing game. We first measure subjects' preferences toward risk and ambiguity, and then use these measures to predict behavior in the game. We find that ambiguity averse subjects pay more often to resolve ambiguity in the game. We also find that less risk averse subjects earn more in the game. Our results, in light of a previous field study of rural farmers in a developing economy, suggest a link between ambiguity aversion and technology choice, as well as a link between risk aversion and farm profitability.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by McGill University, Department of Economics in its series Departmental Working Papers with number 2006-29.

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Length: 35 pages
Date of creation: May 2006
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:mcl:mclwop:2006-29

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References

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  1. Abigail Barr, 2003. "Risk Pooling, Commitment and Information: An experimental test of two fundamental assumptions," Working Papers 2082, The Field Experiments Website.
  2. Catherine C. Eckel & Philip J. Grossman, 2008. "Forecasting Risk Attitudes: An Experimental Study Using Actual and Forecast Gamble Choices," Development Research Unit Working Paper Series archive-01, Monash University, Department of Economics.
  3. John H. Kagel & Alvin E. Roth, 2000. "The Dynamics Of Reorganization In Matching Markets: A Laboratory Experiment Motivated By A Natural Experiment," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 115(1), pages 201-235, February.
  4. Jim Engle-Warnick & Javier Escobal & Sonia Laszlo, 2007. "Ambiguity Aversion as a Predictor of Technology Choice: Experimental Evidence from Peru," CIRANO Working Papers 2007s-01, CIRANO.
  5. Charles A. Holt & Susan K. Laury, 2002. "Risk Aversion and Incentive Effects," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(5), pages 1644-1655, December.
  6. Jovanovic, Boyan & Nyarko, Yaw, 1996. "Learning by Doing and the Choice of Technology," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 64(6), pages 1299-1310, November.
  7. Jim Engle-Warnick & Nurlan Turdaliev, 2005. "An Experimental Test Of Taylor-Type Rules With Inexperienced Central Bankers," Macroeconomics 0511022, EconWPA.
  8. Merlo, Antonio & Schotter, Andrew, 2003. "Learning by not doing: an experimental investigation of observational learning," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 42(1), pages 116-136, January.
  9. Catherine Eckel & Cathleen Johnson & Claude Montmarquette, 2004. "Saving Decisions of the Working Poor: Short-and Long-Term Horizons," CIRANO Working Papers 2004s-45, CIRANO.
  10. Urs Fischbacher, 2007. "z-Tree: Zurich toolbox for ready-made economic experiments," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 10(2), pages 171-178, June.
  11. Foster, Andrew D & Rosenzweig, Mark R, 1995. "Learning by Doing and Learning from Others: Human Capital and Technical Change in Agriculture," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 103(6), pages 1176-1209, December.
  12. Feder, Gershon & Just, Richard E & Zilberman, David, 1985. "Adoption of Agricultural Innovations in Developing Countries: A Survey," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 33(2), pages 255-98, January.
  13. John Knight & Sharada Weir & Tassew Woldehanna, 2003. "The role of education in facilitating risk-taking and innovation in agriculture," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 39(6), pages 1-22.
  14. Antle, John M & Crissman, Charles C, 1990. "Risk, Efficiency, and the Adoption of Modern Crop Varieties: Evidence from the Philippines," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 38(3), pages 517-37, April.
  15. Hans Binswanger, 1980. "Attitudes toward risk: Experimental measurement in rural india," Artefactual Field Experiments 00009, The Field Experiments Website.
  16. Jason Abrevaya, 2002. "Computing Marginal Effects In The Box-Cox Model," Econometric Reviews, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 21(3), pages 383-393.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Juan Camilo C�rdenas, 2009. "Experiments in Environment and Development," Annual Review of Resource Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 1(1), pages 157-182, 09.
  2. Jim Engle-Warnick & Javier Escobal & Sonia Laszlo, 2007. "Ambiguity Aversion as a Predictor of Technology Choice: Experimental Evidence from Peru," CIRANO Working Papers 2007s-01, CIRANO.
  3. Shaun P. Hargreaves Heap & Daniel John Zizzo, 2011. "Emotions and Chat in a Financial Markets Experiment," Working Paper Series 10, The Paul Woolley Centre for Capital Market Dysfunctionality, University of Technology, Sydney.
  4. Kocher, Martin G. & Poulsen, Odile & Zizzo, Daniel J., 2012. "Social preferences, accountability, and wage bargaining," Discussion Papers in Economics 14039, University of Munich, Department of Economics.

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