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Risk Aversion Relates To Cognitive Ability: Preferences Or Noise?

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  • Ola Andersson
  • Håkan J. Holm
  • Jean-Robert Tyran
  • Erik Wengström

Abstract

Recent experimental studies suggest that risk aversion is negatively related to cognitive ability. In this paper we report evidence that this relation may be spurious. We recruit a large subject pool drawn from the general Danish population for our experiment. By presenting subjects with choice tasks that vary the bias induced by random choices, we are able to generate both negative and positive correlations between risk aversion and cognitive ability. Our results suggest that cognitive ability is related to random decision making rather than to risk preferences.
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Suggested Citation

  • Ola Andersson & Håkan J. Holm & Jean-Robert Tyran & Erik Wengström, 2016. "Risk Aversion Relates To Cognitive Ability: Preferences Or Noise?," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 14(5), pages 1129-1154, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:jeurec:v:14:y:2016:i:5:p:1129-1154
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • C81 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Data Collection and Data Estimation Methodology; Computer Programs - - - Methodology for Collecting, Estimating, and Organizing Microeconomic Data; Data Access
    • D91 - Microeconomics - - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics - - - Role and Effects of Psychological, Emotional, Social, and Cognitive Factors on Decision Making
    • D12 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Economics: Empirical Analysis
    • D81 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Criteria for Decision-Making under Risk and Uncertainty

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