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Peer effects in risk taking: Envy or conformity?

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  • Amrei Lahno

    ()

  • Marta Serra-Garcia

    ()

Abstract

We examine two explanations for peer effects in risk taking: relative payoff concerns and preferences that depend on peer choices. We vary experimentally whether individuals can condition a simple lottery choice on the lottery choice or the lottery allocation of a peer. We find that peer effects increase significantly, almost double, when peers make choices, relative to when they are allocated a lottery. In both situations, imitation is the most frequent form of peer effect. Hence, peer effects in our environment are explained by a combination of relative payoff concerns and preferences that depend on peer choices. Comparative statics analyses and structural estimation results suggest that a norm to conform to the peer may explain why peer choices matter. Our results suggest that peer choices are important in generating peer effects and hence have important implications for modeling as well as for policy. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

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  • Amrei Lahno & Marta Serra-Garcia, 2015. "Peer effects in risk taking: Envy or conformity?," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 50(1), pages 73-95, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:jrisku:v:50:y:2015:i:1:p:73-95
    DOI: 10.1007/s11166-015-9209-4
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    3. 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.
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    5. Lopera, Maria Adelaida & Marchand, Steeve, 2018. "Peer effects and risk-taking among entrepreneurs: Lab-in-the-field evidence," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 150(C), pages 182-201.
    6. Amadou Boly & Robert Gillanders & Topi Miettinen, 2016. "Deterrence, peer effect, and legitimacy in anti-corruption policy-making: An experimental analysis," WIDER Working Paper Series 137, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    7. Ingrid T. Rohde & Kirsten M. Rohde, 2015. "Managing social risks – tradeoffs between risks and inequalities," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 51(2), pages 103-124, October.
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    22. Konstanting Lucks & Melanie Lührmann & Joachim K. Winter, 2017. "Peer effects in risky choices among adolescents," IFS Working Papers W17/16, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
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    24. Müller, Stephan & Rau, Holger A., 2017. "Decisions under uncertainty in social contexts," Center for European, Governance and Economic Development Research Discussion Papers 290, University of Goettingen, Department of Economics.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Peer effects; Decision making under risk; Social comparison; Laboratory experiment; C91; C92; D03; D83; G02;

    JEL classification:

    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
    • C92 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Group Behavior
    • D03 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Behavioral Microeconomics: Underlying Principles
    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness
    • G02 - Financial Economics - - General - - - Behavioral Finance: Underlying Principles

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