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Volksvertreter sind risikofreudiger als das Volk


  • Moritz Heß
  • Christian von Scheve
  • Jürgen Schupp
  • Gert G. Wagner


The article analyzes the question of whether career politicians differ systematically from the general population in terms of their attitudes toward risk. A written survey of members of the 17th German Bundestag in late 2011 identified their risk attitudes, and the survey data was set in relation to respondents to the German Socio-Economic Panel Study (SOEP) for the survey year 2009 (2002 through 2012). Compared with the population surveyed in the SOEP, members of the German parliament display a considerably higher general risk appetite, which is highly significant. For different areas of risk, last surveyed in the SOEP in 2009, the members of parliament had significantly stronger risk-loving attitudes across virtually all indicators and risk categories surveyed than the comparison groups of SOEP respondents. In der Politik sind wie im Geschäftsleben oft riskante beziehungsweise gefährliche Entscheidungen zu treffen, bei denen die Ergebnisse nur schwer oder gar nicht prognostizierbar sind. Da Menschen in ihren Einstellungen gegenüber Risiken und Gefahren variieren, ist es vernünftig, dass in Lebensbereichen, die unterschiedlich riskante Entscheidungen erfordern, Menschen mit unterschiedlichen Risikoeinstellungen tätig sind. So wurde schon immer beobachtet, dass Unternehmer ein höheres Maß an Risikofreude zeigen als abhängig Beschäftigte. Für diesen Bericht wurde Ende des Jahres 2011 mit Hilfe einer statistischen Erhebung die Risikoeinstellung von Mitgliedern des Deutschen Bundestags (MdB) ermittelt. Demnach sind diese weit überdurchschnittlich risikofreudig; sie sind sogar deutlich risikofreudiger als Selbständige. Man kann dies kritisch sehen: Politiker sind bereit, höhere Risiken einzugehen, als es die Bevölkerung im Durchschnitt tun würde. Insofern sind Politiker keine repräsentativen Vertreter des Volkes. Wir interpretieren diesen Befund jedoch positiv, als eine gesellschaftlich sinnvolle "Arbeitsteilung" zwischen Bürgern, Wählern und Politikern im Rahmen einer repräsentativen Demokratie, die Risikofreude und Macht institutionell begrenzt.

Suggested Citation

  • Moritz Heß & Christian von Scheve & Jürgen Schupp & Gert G. Wagner, 2013. "Volksvertreter sind risikofreudiger als das Volk," DIW Wochenbericht, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research, vol. 80(10), pages 17-21.
  • Handle: RePEc:diw:diwwob:80-10-3

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    More about this item


    Political decision making; risk aversion; German parliament; SOEP;

    JEL classification:

    • D71 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Social Choice; Clubs; Committees; Associations
    • D78 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Positive Analysis of Policy Formulation and Implementation
    • H11 - Public Economics - - Structure and Scope of Government - - - Structure and Scope of Government
    • H70 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - General
    • P16 - Economic Systems - - Capitalist Systems - - - Political Economy of Capitalism
    • Z13 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Economic Sociology; Economic Anthropology; Language; Social and Economic Stratification


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