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The Effect of Payment Methods on Risk Aversion


  • Larry Lawson


  • Catherine Lawson



Risk aversion experiments such as those by Holt and Laury ( 2002 , 2005 ) measure risk aversion by examining subjects’ responses to a series of probability-ordered choices. Subjects are paid real money rewards, using the random round payment method in which the amount is determined by one randomly selected decision. The findings reported here were obtained from 119 subjects who confronted the same choice set and payment amounts, but 60 of these subjects were paid using the random-round method while the remaining 59 were paid based on an average of all their choices, the accumulated value method. The accumulated value payment method simulates portfolio returns, as opposed to returns from stand alone investments. Results indicate that accumulated value subjects took more risk and made more inconsistent decisions. Copyright International Atlantic Economic Society 2011

Suggested Citation

  • Larry Lawson & Catherine Lawson, 2011. "The Effect of Payment Methods on Risk Aversion," Atlantic Economic Journal, Springer;International Atlantic Economic Society, vol. 39(3), pages 249-260, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:atlecj:v:39:y:2011:i:3:p:249-260
    DOI: 10.1007/s11293-011-9278-y

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Glenn W. Harrison & Morten I. Lau & E. Elisabet Rutström, 2007. "Estimating Risk Attitudes in Denmark: A Field Experiment," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 109(2), pages 341-368, June.
    2. Charles A. Holt & Susan K. Laury, 2005. "Risk Aversion and Incentive Effects: New Data without Order Effects," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(3), pages 902-912, June.
    3. Charles A. Holt & Susan K. Laury, 2002. "Risk Aversion and Incentive Effects," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(5), pages 1644-1655, December.
    4. Beetsma, Roel M W J & Schotman, Peter C, 2001. "Measuring Risk Attitudes in a Natural Experiment: Data from the Television Game Show Lingo," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 111(474), pages 821-848, October.
    5. Susan K. Laury, 2006. "Pay One or Pay All: Random Selection of One Choice for Payment," Experimental Economics Center Working Paper Series 2006-24, Experimental Economics Center, Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, Georgia State University.
    6. Glenn W. Harrison & Eric Johnson & Melayne M. McInnes & E. Elisabet Rutström, 2005. "Risk Aversion and Incentive Effects: Comment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(3), pages 897-901, June.
    7. Jinkwon Lee, 2007. "Repetition And Financial Incentives In Economics Experiments," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 21(3), pages 628-681, July.
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    More about this item


    Risk aversion; Experimental economics/finance; D81; G11; C91;

    JEL classification:

    • D81 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Criteria for Decision-Making under Risk and Uncertainty
    • G11 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Portfolio Choice; Investment Decisions
    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior


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