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Peer effects on risk behaviour: the importance of group identity


  • Francesca Gioia

    () (University of Edinburgh)


Abstract This paper investigates whether and to what extent group identity plays a role in peer effects on risk behaviour. We run a laboratory experiment in which different levels of group identity are induced through different matching protocols (random or based on individual painting preferences) and the possibility to interact with group members via an online chat in a group task. Risk behaviour is measured by using the Bomb Risk Elicitation Task and peer influence is introduced by giving subjects feedback regarding group members’ previous decisions. We find that subjects are affected by their peers when taking decisions and that group identity influences the magnitude of peer effects: painting preferences matching significantly reduces the heterogeneity in risk behaviour compared with random matching. On the other hand, introducing a group task has no significant effect on behaviour, possibly because interaction does not always contribute to enhancing group identity. Finally, relative riskiness within the group matters and individuals whose peers are riskier than they are take on average riskier decisions, even when controlling for regression to the mean.

Suggested Citation

  • Francesca Gioia, 2017. "Peer effects on risk behaviour: the importance of group identity," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 20(1), pages 100-129, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:expeco:v:20:y:2017:i:1:d:10.1007_s10683-016-9478-z
    DOI: 10.1007/s10683-016-9478-z

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    Cited by:

    1. Maria Adelaida Lopera & Steeve Marchand, 2017. "Peer effects and risk-taking among entrepreneurs: Lab-in-the-field evidence," Working Papers PIERI 2017-21, PEP-PIERI.
    2. Steeve Marchand & Maria Adelaida Lopera, 2017. "Peer Effects and Risk-Taking Among Entrepreneurs: Lab-in-the-Field Evidence," Cahiers de recherche 1703, Centre de recherche sur les risques, les enjeux économiques, et les politiques publiques.
    3. Norris, Jonathan, 2017. "Family and Peer Social Identity Effects on Schooling Attitudes and Performance," UNCG Economics Working Papers 17-1, University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Department of Economics.
    4. Daniela Di Cagno & Werner Güth & Marcello Puca & Patrizia Sbriglia, 2017. "Group Influence in Sharing Experiments," Labsi Experimental Economics Laboratory University of Siena 050, University of Siena.

    More about this item


    Peer effects; Group identity; Risk behaviour; Ranking;

    JEL classification:

    • D03 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Behavioral Microeconomics: Underlying Principles
    • D81 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Criteria for Decision-Making under Risk and Uncertainty
    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness
    • Z13 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Economic Sociology; Economic Anthropology; Language; Social and Economic Stratification


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