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Cross-Cultural Differences in Risk Perception, but Cross-Cultural Similarities in Attitudes Towards Perceived Risk

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  • Elke U. Weber

    (Department of Psychology and Department of Management and Human Resources, The Ohio State University, 1885 Neil Avenue, Columbus, Ohio 43210)

  • Christopher Hsee

    (Graduate School of Business, University of Chicago, 1101 East 58th Street, Chicago, Illinois 60615)

Abstract

In this study, respondents from the P.R.C., U.S.A., Germany, and Poland were found to differ in risk preference, as measured by buying prices for risky financial options. Chinese respondents were significantly less risk-averse in their pricing than Americans when risk preference was assessed in the traditional expected-utility framework. However, these apparent differences in risk preference were associated primarily with cultural differences in the perception of the risk of the financial options rather than with cultural differences in attitude towards perceived risk. In all cultures, an equal proportion (the majority) of respondents was willing to pay more for options perceived as less risky, i.e., were perceived-risk averse. These results are most naturally explained within a risk-return conceptualization of risky choice. They have practical implications for cross-cultural negotiation and commerce by suggesting the locus of cultural differences in risky choice that may allow for the creation of joint gains.

Suggested Citation

  • Elke U. Weber & Christopher Hsee, 1998. "Cross-Cultural Differences in Risk Perception, but Cross-Cultural Similarities in Attitudes Towards Perceived Risk," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 44(9), pages 1205-1217, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:inm:ormnsc:v:44:y:1998:i:9:p:1205-1217
    DOI: 10.1287/mnsc.44.9.1205
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    File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1287/mnsc.44.9.1205
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Sarin, Rakesh K. & Weber, Martin, 1993. "Risk-value models," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 70(2), pages 135-149, October.
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    4. Elke U. Weber & Richard A. Milliman, 1997. "Perceived Risk Attitudes: Relating Risk Perception to Risky Choice," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 43(2), pages 123-144, February.
    5. Levy, H & Markowtiz, H M, 1979. "Approximating Expected Utility by a Function of Mean and Variance," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 69(3), pages 308-317, June.
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