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Conspicuous conservatism in risk choice

Author

Listed:
  • Boaz Moselle
  • François Degeorge
  • Richard Zeckhauser

    ()

Abstract

We analyze the risk levels chosen by agents who have private information regarding their quality, and whose performance will be judged and rewarded by outsiders. Assume that risk choice is observable. Agents will choose risk strategically to enhance their expected reputations. We show that conspicuous conservatism results: agents of different qualities choose levels below those that would be chosen if quality were observable. This happens because bad agents must cloak their identity by choosing the same risk level as good agents, and good agents are more likely to distinguish themselves if they reduce the risk level. Our results contrast starkly with those for the case when risk choice cannot be observed. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2007

Suggested Citation

  • Boaz Moselle & François Degeorge & Richard Zeckhauser, 2007. "Conspicuous conservatism in risk choice," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 35(1), pages 1-16, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:jrisku:v:35:y:2007:i:1:p:1-16
    DOI: 10.1007/s11166-007-9014-9
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Chevalier, Judith & Ellison, Glenn, 1997. "Risk Taking by Mutual Funds as a Response to Incentives," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 105(6), pages 1167-1200, December.
    2. FranÁois Degeorge & Boaz Moselle & Richard Zeckhauser, 2004. "The Ecology of Risk Taking," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 28(3), pages 195-215, May.
    3. Christian Gollier, 2004. "Misery Loves Company: Equilibrium Portfolios With Heterogeneous Consumption Externalities," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 45(4), pages 1169-1192, November.
    4. Banks, Jeffrey S & Sobel, Joel, 1987. "Equilibrium Selection in Signaling Games," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 55(3), pages 647-661, May.
    5. Ilia Tsetlin & Anil Gaba & Robert L. Winkler, 2004. "Strategic Choice of Variability in Multiround Contests and Contests with Handicaps," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 29(2), pages 143-158, September.
    6. Crawford, Vincent P & Sobel, Joel, 1982. "Strategic Information Transmission," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(6), pages 1431-1451, November.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Risk choice; Signaling; Conservatism; D81; D82; G30;

    JEL classification:

    • D81 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Criteria for Decision-Making under Risk and Uncertainty
    • D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design
    • G30 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - General

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