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Migrations, risks, and uncertainty: A field experiment in China

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  • Hao, Li
  • Houser, Daniel
  • Mao, Lei
  • Villeval, Marie Claire

Abstract

We report data from the first incentivized artefactual field experiment conducted in China to understand whether Chinese migrants differ from non-migrants in terms of preferences regarding risk and uncertainty in various contexts. We find that, compared to non-migrants, migrants are significantly more likely to enter competitions when they expect competitive entries from others; however, migrants are not different from non-migrants in risk and ambiguity preferences where strategic uncertainty is absent. Our results suggest that migration may be driven more by a stronger belief in one’s chance of succeeding in an uncertain competitive environment than by differences risk attitudes related to state uncertainty.

Suggested Citation

  • Hao, Li & Houser, Daniel & Mao, Lei & Villeval, Marie Claire, 2016. "Migrations, risks, and uncertainty: A field experiment in China," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 131(PA), pages 126-140.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jeborg:v:131:y:2016:i:pa:p:126-140
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jebo.2016.08.008
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    2. Cadsby, C. Bram & Song, Fei & Yang, Xiaolan, 2020. "Are “left-behind” children really left behind? A lab-in-field experiment concerning the impact of rural/urban status and parental migration on children's other-regarding preferences," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 179(C), pages 715-728.
    3. Klöble, Katrin, 2021. "A behavioural perspective on the drivers of migration: Studying economic and social preferences using the Gallup World Poll," Discussion Papers 4/2021, German Development Institute / Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik (DIE).
    4. Goldbach, Carina & Schlüter, Achim, 2018. "Risk aversion, time preferences, and out-migration. Experimental evidence from Ghana and Indonesia," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 150(C), pages 132-148.
    5. Gibson, John & McKenzie, David & Rohorua, Halahingano & Stillman, Steven, 2020. "Reprint of: The long-term impact of international migration on economic decision-making: Evidence from a migration lottery and lab-in-the-field experiments," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 142(C).
    6. Gibson, John & McKenzie, David & Rohorua, Halahingano & Stillman, Steven, 2019. "The long-term impact of international migration on economic decision-making: Evidence from a migration lottery and lab-in-the-field experiments," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 138(C), pages 99-115.
    7. Zheng Li, 2020. "Experimental Evidence on Socioeconomic Differences in Risk‐Taking and Risk Premiums," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 96(313), pages 140-152, June.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Migration; Field experiment; Risk preferences; Competitiveness; Strategic uncertainty; Ambiguity;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • C93 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Field Experiments
    • D03 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Behavioral Microeconomics: Underlying Principles
    • D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement
    • J61 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Geographic Labor Mobility; Immigrant Workers

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