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Heterogeneity in Risky Choice Behavior in a Broad Population

  • Hans-Martin von Gaudecker
  • Arthur van Soest
  • Erik Wengstrom

We analyze risk preferences using an experiment with real incentives in a representative sample of 1,422 Dutch respondents. Our econometric model incorporates four structural parameters that vary with observed and unobserved characteristics: utility curvature, loss aversion, preferences toward the timing of uncertainty resolution, and the propensity to choose randomly rather than on the basis of preferences. We find that all four parameters contribute to explaining choice behavior. The structural parameters are significantly associated with socioeconomic variables, but it is essential to incorporate unobserved heterogeneity in each of them to match the rich variety of choice patterns in the data. (JEL D12, D81)

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Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal American Economic Review.

Volume (Year): 101 (2011)
Issue (Month): 2 (April)
Pages: 664-94

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Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:101:y:2011:i:2:p:664-94
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