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Does self-control depletion affect risk attitudes?

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  • Gerhardt, Holger
  • Schildberg-Hörisch, Hannah
  • Willrodt, Jana

Abstract

A core prediction of recent “dual-self” models is that risk attitudes depend on self-control. While these models have received a lot of attention, empirical evidence regarding their predictions is lacking. We derive hypotheses from three prominent models for choices between risky monetary payoffs under regular and reduced self-control. We test the hypotheses in a lab experiment, using a well-established ego depletion task to reduce self-control, and measuring risk attitudes via finely graduated choice lists. Manipulation checks document the effectiveness of the depletion task. We find no systematic evidence in favor of the theoretical predictions. In particular, depletion does not increase risk aversion.

Suggested Citation

  • Gerhardt, Holger & Schildberg-Hörisch, Hannah & Willrodt, Jana, 2017. "Does self-control depletion affect risk attitudes?," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 100(C), pages 463-487.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:eecrev:v:100:y:2017:i:c:p:463-487
    DOI: 10.1016/j.euroecorev.2017.09.004
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    2. Kocher, Martin G. & Lucks, Konstantin E. & Schindler, David, 2016. "Unleashing Animal Spirits - Self-Control and Overpricing in Experimental Asset Markets," Discussion Papers in Economics 27572, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
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    6. Cobb-Clark, Deborah A. & Dahmann, Sarah Christina & Kamhöfer, Daniel A. & Schildberg-Hörisch, Hannah, 2019. "Self-control: Determinants, life outcomes and intergenerational implications," DICE Discussion Papers 319, Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf, Düsseldorf Institute for Competition Economics (DICE).
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Risk attitudes; Self-control; Ego depletion; Dual-self models; Experiment;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D03 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Behavioral Microeconomics: Underlying Principles
    • D81 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Criteria for Decision-Making under Risk and Uncertainty
    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior

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