IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

Intergenerational attitudes towards strategic uncertainty and competition: A field experiment in a Swiss bank


  • Madiès, Thierry
  • Villeval, Marie Claire
  • Wasmer, Malgorzata


With a market entry game inspired by Camerer and Lovallo (1999), we study the attitudes of junior and senior employees towards strategic uncertainty and competition. Seniors exhibit higher entry rates compared to juniors, especially when the market capacity is not too low or when earnings from entry depend on relative performance. This difference persists after controlling for attitudes towards non-strategic uncertainty and for beliefs on others' competitiveness and on relative ability. Seniors are more willing to compete when they predict a higher number of competitors. This contradicts the stereotype of less competitive older employees.

Suggested Citation

  • Madiès, Thierry & Villeval, Marie Claire & Wasmer, Malgorzata, 2013. "Intergenerational attitudes towards strategic uncertainty and competition: A field experiment in a Swiss bank," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 61(C), pages 153-168.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:eecrev:v:61:y:2013:i:c:p:153-168 DOI: 10.1016/j.euroecorev.2013.04.002

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version below or search for a different version of it.

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Marie-pierre Dargnies & Guillaume Hollard, 2009. "Incentives to learn calibration: a gender-dependent impact," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 29(3), pages 1820-1828.
    2. Jason Abaluck & Jonathan Gruber, 2011. "Choice Inconsistencies among the Elderly: Evidence from Plan Choice in the Medicare Part D Program," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(4), pages 1180-1210, June.
    3. Rodney J. Garratt & Catherine Weinberger & Nick Johnson, 2013. "The State Street Mile: Age And Gender Differences In Competition Aversion In The Field," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 51(1), pages 806-815, January.
    4. Gary Charness & Marie-Claire Villeval, 2009. "Cooperation and Competition in Intergenerational Experiments in the Field and the Laboratory," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(3), pages 956-978, June.
    5. Cesarini, David & Sandewall, Orjan & Johannesson, Magnus, 2006. "Confidence interval estimation tasks and the economics of overconfidence," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 61(3), pages 453-470, November.
    6. Craig R. Fox & Amos Tversky, 1995. "Ambiguity Aversion and Comparative Ignorance," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 110(3), pages 585-603.
    7. Nancy Ammon Jianakoplos & Alexandra Bernasek, 2006. "Financial Risk Taking by Age and Birth Cohort," Southern Economic Journal, Southern Economic Association, vol. 72(4), pages 981-1001, April.
    8. Gary Charness & Marie Claire Villeval, 2009. "Cooperation and Competition in Intergenerational Experiments in the Field and in the Laboratory," Post-Print halshs-00371984, HAL.
    9. Duffy, John & Hopkins, Ed, 2005. "Learning, information, and sorting in market entry games: theory and evidence," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 51(1), pages 31-62, April.
    10. Tibor Besedeš & Cary Deck & Sudipta Sarangi & Mikhael Shor, 2012. "Age Effects and Heuristics in Decision Making," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 94(2), pages 580-595, May.
    11. Chan, Sewin & Stevens, Ann Huff, 2001. "Job Loss and Employment Patterns of Older Workers," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 19(2), pages 484-521, April.
    12. Roland Bénabou & Jean Tirole, 2002. "Self-Confidence and Personal Motivation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 117(3), pages 871-915.
    13. Ido Erev & Eyal Ert & Alvin E. Roth, 2010. "A Choice Prediction Competition for Market Entry Games: An Introduction," Games, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 1(2), pages 1-20, May.
    14. Erev, Ido & Rapoport, Amnon, 1998. "Coordination, "Magic," and Reinforcement Learning in a Market Entry Game," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 23(2), pages 146-175, May.
    15. Glenn MacDonald & Michael S. Weisbach, 2004. "The Economics of Has-beens," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 112(S1), pages 289-310, February.
    16. Levesque, Moren & Minniti, Maria, 2006. "The effect of aging on entrepreneurial behavior," Journal of Business Venturing, Elsevier, vol. 21(2), pages 177-194, March.
    17. Hunter, Katrina & Kemp, Simon, 2004. "The personality of e-commerce investors," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 25(4), pages 529-537, August.
    18. Kovalchik, Stephanie & Camerer, Colin F. & Grether, David M. & Plott, Charles R. & Allman, John M., 2005. "Aging and decision making: a comparison between neurologically healthy elderly and young individuals," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 58(1), pages 79-94, September.
    19. Steven D. Levitt & John A. List, 2007. "What Do Laboratory Experiments Measuring Social Preferences Reveal About the Real World?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 21(2), pages 153-174, Spring.
    20. Yan Chen & Sherry Xin Li, 2009. "Group Identity and Social Preferences," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(1), pages 431-457, March.
    21. Pavlo Blavatskyy, 2009. "Betting on own knowledge: Experimental test of overconfidence," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 38(1), pages 39-49, February.
    22. Streb, Christoph K. & Voelpel, Sven C. & Leibold, Marius, 2008. "Managing the aging workforce:: Status quo and implications for the advancement of theory and practice," European Management Journal, Elsevier, vol. 26(1), pages 1-10, February.
    23. Dan Lovallo & Colin Camerer, 1999. "Overconfidence and Excess Entry: An Experimental Approach," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(1), pages 306-318, March.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Lindner, Florian, 2014. "Decision time and steps of reasoning in a competitive market entry game," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 122(1), pages 7-11.
    2. Bergstrom Theodore & Parendo Shane & Sonstelie Jon, 2016. "Competition and Personality in a Restaurant Entry Game," The B.E. Journal of Theoretical Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 16(1), pages 411-433, January.

    More about this item


    Aging; Risk; Ambiguity; Competitiveness; Experiment;

    JEL classification:

    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness
    • J14 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of the Elderly; Economics of the Handicapped; Non-Labor Market Discrimination
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • M5 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Personnel Economics


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:eecrev:v:61:y:2013:i:c:p:153-168. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Dana Niculescu). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.