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Risk preferences and training investments

Author

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  • Caliendo, Marco
  • Cobb-Clark, Deborah A.
  • Obst, Cosima
  • Uhlendorff, Arne

Abstract

We analyze workers’ risk preferences and training investments. Our conceptual framework differentiates between the investment risk and insurance mechanisms underpinning training decisions. Investment risk leads risk-averse workers to train less; they undertake more training if it insures them against future losses. We use the German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP) to demonstrate that risk affinity is associated with more training, implying that, on average, investment risks dominate the insurance benefits of training. Crucially, this relationship is evident only for general training; there is no relationship between risk attitudes and specific training. Thus, consistent with our conceptual framework, risk preferences matter more when skills are transferable – and workers have a vested interest in training outcomes – than when they are not. Finally, we provide evidence that the insurance benefits of training are concentrated among workers with uncertain employment relationships or limited access to public insurance schemes.

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  • Caliendo, Marco & Cobb-Clark, Deborah A. & Obst, Cosima & Uhlendorff, Arne, 2023. "Risk preferences and training investments," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 205(C), pages 668-686.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jeborg:v:205:y:2023:i:c:p:668-686
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jebo.2022.11.024
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    3. Innocenti, Stefania & Golin, Marta, 2022. "Human capital investment and perceived automation risks: Evidence from 16 countries," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 195(C), pages 27-41.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Human capital investment; Work-related training; Risk preferences;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • C23 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Models with Panel Data; Spatio-temporal Models
    • D81 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Criteria for Decision-Making under Risk and Uncertainty

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