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Behavioral Biases and Firm Behavior: Evidence from Kenyan Retail Shops

Author

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  • Michael Kremer
  • Jean Lee
  • Jonathan Robinson
  • Olga Rostapshova

Abstract

Many subjects in lab experiments exhibit small-stakes risk aversion, consistent with loss aversion. Those with greater math skills are less likely to show small-stakes risk aversion. We argue that departures from expected utility maximization may help explain why many firms in developing countries leave high expected return investments unexploited. We show that among a sample of Kenyan shopkeepers, inventories are negatively associated with small-stakes risk aversion and positively associated with math skills.

Suggested Citation

  • Michael Kremer & Jean Lee & Jonathan Robinson & Olga Rostapshova, 2013. "Behavioral Biases and Firm Behavior: Evidence from Kenyan Retail Shops," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 103(3), pages 362-368, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:103:y:2013:i:3:p:362-68 Note: DOI: 10.1257/aer.103.3.362
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Esther Duflo & Michael Kremer & Jonathan Robinson, 2011. "Nudging Farmers to Use Fertilizer: Theory and Experimental Evidence from Kenya," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(6), pages 2350-2390, October.
    2. Rabin, Matthew, 1997. "Bargaining Structure, Fairness and Efficiency," Department of Economics, Working Paper Series qt35g8s3dd, Department of Economics, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
    3. Dean Karlan & Robert Osei & Isaac Osei-Akoto & Christopher Udry, 2014. "Agricultural Decisions after Relaxing Credit and Risk Constraints," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 129(2), pages 597-652.
    4. Shawn Cole & Xavier Giné & James Vickery, 2017. "How Does Risk Management Influence Production Decisions? Evidence from a Field Experiment," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, pages 1935-1970.
    5. David McKenzie & Christopher Woodruff, 2008. "Experimental Evidence on Returns to Capital and Access to Finance in Mexico," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 22(3), pages 457-482, November.
    6. Richard H. Thaler & Amos Tversky & Daniel Kahneman & Alan Schwartz, 1997. "The Effect of Myopia and Loss Aversion on Risk Taking: An Experimental Test," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 112(2), pages 647-661.
    7. A. Mushfiq Mobarak & Mark Rosenzweig, 2012. "Selling Formal Insurance to the Informally Insured," Working Papers id:4777, eSocialSciences.
    8. Matthew Rabin, 2000. "Risk Aversion and Expected-Utility Theory: A Calibration Theorem," Econometrica, Econometric Society, pages 1281-1292.
    9. Kahneman, Daniel & Knetsch, Jack L & Thaler, Richard H, 1990. "Experimental Tests of the Endowment Effect and the Coase Theorem," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(6), pages 1325-1348, December.
    10. Suresh de Mel & David McKenzie & Christopher Woodruff, 2009. "Returns to Capital in Microenterprises: Evidence from a Field Experiment," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 124(1), pages 423-423.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Petraud, Jean & Boucher, Stephen & Carter, Michael, 2015. "Competing theories of risk preferences and the demand for crop insurance: Experimental evidence from Peru," 2015 Conference, August 9-14, 2015, Milan, Italy 211383, International Association of Agricultural Economists.
    2. Fafchamps, Marcel & McKenzie, David & Quinn, Simon & Woodruff, Christopher, 2014. "Microenterprise growth and the flypaper effect: Evidence from a randomized experiment in Ghana," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, pages 211-226.
    3. Dhaniel Ilyas, 2017. "Preliminary Finding of Small and Micro Firms Resilience in Indonesia," LPEM FEBUI Working Papers 201715, LPEM, Faculty of Economics and Business, University of Indonesia, revised Dec 2017.
    4. Jansen, Anika & Pfeifer, Harald & Raecke, Julia, "undated". "Only the brave? Risk and time preferences of decision makers and firms’ investment in worker training," Research Memorandum 004, Maastricht University, Graduate School of Business and Economics (GSBE).
    5. Emma Boswell Dean & Frank Schilbach & Heather Schofield, 2017. "Poverty and Cognitive Function," NBER Chapters,in: The Economics of Poverty Traps National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Chang-Tai Hsieh & Benjamin A. Olken, 2014. "The Missing "Missing Middle"," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 28(3), pages 89-108, Summer.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D22 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Firm Behavior: Empirical Analysis
    • D81 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Criteria for Decision-Making under Risk and Uncertainty
    • D91 - Microeconomics - - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics - - - Role and Effects of Psychological, Emotional, Social, and Cognitive Factors on Decision Making
    • G31 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Capital Budgeting; Fixed Investment and Inventory Studies
    • O14 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Industrialization; Manufacturing and Service Industries; Choice of Technology

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