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Risk Aversion and Physical Prowess: Prediction, Choice and Bias

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  • Sheryl Ball
  • Catherine C. Eckel
  • Maria Heracleous

Abstract

This paper reports on experiments where individuals are asked to make risky decisions for themselves as well as predicting the risky decisions of others. Prior research has generally shown that people expect women to be more risk averse than men and that they, in fact are - a result we also find. We ask whether this is a pure gender effect or whether there is more to this result. In particular, both evolutionary and economic theories suggest that physically stronger decision makers should make riskier decisions, suggesting physical prowess as an underlying cause of gender differences. These experiments explore whether risk aversion is associated with a number of measures of real and perceived physical prowess. We find that forecasters consistently predict the types of risky decision produced by both gender and physical prowess, but often at magnitudes that significantly exaggerate than actual differences. Sources of bias are also examined, showing that specific characteristics of the target and predictor lead to over-estimation or under-estimation of risk preferences.

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File URL: ftp://repec.econ.vt.edu/Papers/Ball/Ball-Eckel-Heracleous%207_08.pdf
File Function: First version, 2007
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number e07-11.

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Length: 35 pages
Date of creation: 2008
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:vpi:wpaper:e07-11

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Keywords: Risk Aversion; Physical Risk; Experiment; Gender; Stereotyping;

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References

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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Mary Riddel & Sonja Kolstoe, 2013. "Heterogeneity in life-duration preferences: Are risky recreationists really more risk loving?," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 46(2), pages 191-213, April.
  2. Drichoutis, Andreas C. & Koundouri, Phoebe, 2012. "Estimating risk attitudes in conventional and artefactual lab experiments: The importance of the underlying assumptions," Economics - The Open-Access, Open-Assessment E-Journal, Kiel Institute for the World Economy, vol. 6(38), pages 1-15.
  3. Sundar, B. & Virmani, Vineet, . "Attitudes towards Risk of Forest Dependent Communities - Evidence from Andhra Pradesh," IIMA Working Papers WP2013-12-01, Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad, Research and Publication Department.
  4. Ellen Garbarino & Robert Slonim & Justin Sydnor, 2011. "Digit ratios (2D:4D) as predictors of risky decision making for both sexes," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 42(1), pages 1-26, February.
  5. Sanjaya, Muhammad Ryan, 2013. "On the source of risk aversion in Indonesia using micro data 2007," Economics Discussion Papers 2013-33, Kiel Institute for the World Economy.
  6. Antonio FILIPPIN & Paolo CROSETTO, 2014. "A Reconsideration of Gender Differences in Risk Attitudes," Departmental Working Papers 2014-01, Department of Economics, Management and Quantitative Methods at Università degli Studi di Milano.

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