IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/kap/expeco/v17y2014i1p47-60.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

Is it my money or not? An experiment on risk aversion and the house-money effect

Author

Listed:
  • Juan Cárdenas

    ()

  • Nicolas Roux

    ()

  • Christian Jaramillo

    ()

  • Luis Martinez

    ()

Abstract

The house-money effect, understood as people’s tendency to be more daring with easily-gotten money, is a behavioral pattern that poses questions about the external validity of experiments in economics: to what extent do people behave in experiments like they would have in a real-life situation, given that they play with easily-gotten house money? We ran an economic experiment with 122 students to measure the house-money effect on their risk preferences. They received an amount of money with which they made risky decisions involving losses and gains; a randomly selected treatment group received the money 21 days in advance and a control group got it the day of the experiment. From a simple calculation we found that participants in the treatment group only spent on average approximately 35 % of their cash in advance. The data confirms the well documented results that men are more tolerant to risk than women, and that individuals in general are more risk tolerant towards losses than towards gains. With our preferred specification, we find a mean CRRA risk aversion coefficient of 0.34, with a standard deviation of 0.09. Furthermore, if subjects in the treatment group spent 35 % of the endowment their CRRA risk aversion coefficient is higher than that of the control group by approximately 0.3 standard deviations. We interpret this result as evidence of a small and indirect house money effect operating though the amount of the cash in advance that was actually spent. We conclude that the house money effect may play a small role in decisions under uncertainty, especially when involving losses. Our novel design, however, could be used for other domains of decision making both in the lab and for calibration of economic models used in micro and macroeconomics. Copyright Economic Science Association 2014

Suggested Citation

  • Juan Cárdenas & Nicolas Roux & Christian Jaramillo & Luis Martinez, 2014. "Is it my money or not? An experiment on risk aversion and the house-money effect," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 17(1), pages 47-60, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:expeco:v:17:y:2014:i:1:p:47-60
    DOI: 10.1007/s10683-013-9356-x
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1007/s10683-013-9356-x
    Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.

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

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Lucy Ackert & Narat Charupat & Bryan Church & Richard Deaves, 2006. "An experimental examination of the house money effect in a multi-period setting," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 9(1), pages 5-16, April.
    2. Hans P. Binswanger, 1980. "Attitudes Toward Risk: Experimental Measurement in Rural India," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 62(3), pages 395-407.
    3. Todd L. Cherry & Peter Frykblom & Jason F. Shogren, 2002. "Hardnose the Dictator," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(4), pages 1218-1221, September.
    4. Cardenas, Juan Camilo & Carpenter, Jeffrey, 2013. "Risk attitudes and economic well-being in Latin America," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 103(C), pages 52-61.
    5. Hey, John D & Orme, Chris, 1994. "Investigating Generalizations of Expected Utility Theory Using Experimental Data," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 62(6), pages 1291-1326, November.
    6. Bosch-Domènech, Antoni & Silvestre, Joaquim, 2010. "Averting risk in the face of large losses: Bernoulli vs. Tversky and Kahneman," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 107(2), pages 180-182, May.
    7. Francesco Guala & Luigi Mittone, 2005. "Experiments in economics: External validity and the robustness of phenomena," Journal of Economic Methodology, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 12(4), pages 495-515.
    8. Orazio Attanasio & Abigail Barr & Juan Camilo Cardenas & Garance Genicot & Costas Meghir, 2012. "Risk Pooling, Risk Preferences, and Social Networks," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 4(2), pages 134-167, April.
    9. Keasey, Kevin & Moon, Philip, 1996. "Gambling with the house money in capital expenditure decisions: An experimental analysis," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 50(1), pages 105-110, January.
    10. Jeremy Clark, 2002. "House Money Effects in Public Good Experiments," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 5(3), pages 223-231, December.
    11. Juan Camilo Cardenas & Jeffrey Carpenter, 2008. "Behavioural Development Economics: Lessons from Field Labs in the Developing World," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 44(3), pages 311-338.
    12. Richard H. Thaler & Eric J. Johnson, 1990. "Gambling with the House Money and Trying to Break Even: The Effects of Prior Outcomes on Risky Choice," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 36(6), pages 643-660, June.
    13. GlennW. Harrison & StevenJ. Humphrey & Arjan Verschoor, 2010. "Choice under Uncertainty: Evidence from Ethiopia, India and Uganda," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 120(543), pages 80-104, March.
    14. Kahneman, Daniel & Tversky, Amos, 1979. "Prospect Theory: An Analysis of Decision under Risk," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 47(2), pages 263-291, March.
    15. Guala,Francesco, 2005. "The Methodology of Experimental Economics," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521618618, April.
    16. Keeler, James P & James, William L & Abdel-Ghany, Mohamed, 1985. "The Relative Size of Windfall Income and the Permanent Income Hypothesis," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 3(3), pages 209-215, June.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

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


    Cited by:

    1. James C. Cox & Maroš Servátka & Radovan Vadovič, 2017. "Status quo effects in fairness games: reciprocal responses to acts of commission versus acts of omission," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 20(1), pages 1-18, March.
    2. Maximilian Rüdisser & Raphael Flepp & Egon Franck, 2017. "Do casinos pay their customers to become risk-averse? Revising the house money effect in a field experiment," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 20(3), pages 736-754, September.
    3. Danková, Katarína & Servátka, Maroš, 2015. "The house money effect and negative reciprocity," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 48(C), pages 60-71.
    4. Maximilian Rüdisser & Raphael Flepp & Egon Franck, 2017. " When do reference points update? A field analysis of the effect of prior gains and losses on risk-taking over time," Working Papers 369, University of Zurich, Department of Business Administration (IBW).
    5. Makowsky, Michael D. & Orman, Wafa Hakim & Peart, Sandra J., 2014. "Playing with other people's money: Contributions to public goods by trustees," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 53(C), pages 44-55.
    6. James C. Cox & Maroš Servátka & Radovan Vadovic, 2012. "Status Quo Effects in Fairness Games: Reciprocal Responses to Acts of Commission vs. Acts of Omission," Experimental Economics Center Working Paper Series 2012-03, Experimental Economics Center, Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, Georgia State University, revised Jan 2016.
    7. William Morrison, Robert Oxoby, 2016. "Risk Taking, Intertemporal Choice, and Loss Aversion," LCERPA Working Papers 0096, Laurier Centre for Economic Research and Policy Analysis, revised 01 Jul 2016.
    8. Glenn W. Harrison & J. Todd Swarthout, 2016. "Cumulative Prospect Theory in the Laboratory: A Reconsideration," Experimental Economics Center Working Paper Series 2016-04, Experimental Economics Center, Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, Georgia State University.
    9. Mohammed H. Alemu & Søren B. Olsen, 2017. "Can a Repeated Opt-Out Reminder remove hypothetical bias in discrete choice experiments? An application to consumer valuation of novel food products," IFRO Working Paper 2017/05, University of Copenhagen, Department of Food and Resource Economics.

    Corrections

    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:kap:expeco:v:17:y:2014:i:1:p:47-60. 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: (Sonal Shukla) or (Rebekah McClure). General contact details of provider: http://www.springer.com .

    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.