Individual Risk Attitudes: Measurement, Determinants, And Behavioral Consequences
This paper studies risk attitudes using a large representative survey and a complementaryexperiment conducted with a representative subject pool in subjects’ homes. Using aquestion asking people about their willingness to take risks “in general”, we find thatgender, age, height, and parental background have an economically significant impacton willingness to take risks. The experiment confirms the behavioral validity of thismeasure, using paid lottery choices. Turning to other question about risk attitudesin specific contexts, we find similar results on the determinants of risk attitudes, andalso shed light on the deeper question of stability of risk attitudes across contexts. Weconduct a horse race of the ability of different measures to explain risky behaviorssuch as holdings stocks, occupational choice, and smoking. The question about risktakingin general generates the best all-around predictor of risky behavior. (JEL codes:D0, D1, D80, D81, C91, C93, J16, J24, I1).
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Volume (Year): 9 (2011)
Issue (Month): 3 (06)
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