IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/kap/jrisku/v54y2017i3d10.1007_s11166-017-9261-3.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

The psychometric and empirical properties of measures of risk preferences

Author

Listed:
  • Jonathan P. Beauchamp

    () (University of Toronto)

  • David Cesarini

    () (New York University)

  • Magnus Johannesson

    () (Stockholm School of Economics)

Abstract

We examine the psychometric and empirical properties of some commonly used survey-based measures of risk preferences in a population-based sample of 11,000 twins. Using a model that provides a general framework for making inferences about the component of measured risk attitudes that is not due to measurement error, we show that measurement-error adjustment leads to substantially larger estimates of the predictive power of risk attitudes, of the size of the gender gap, and of the magnitude of the sibling correlation. Risk attitudes are predictive of investment decisions, entrepreneurship, and drinking and smoking behaviors; are robustly associated with cognitive ability and personality; and our estimates are often larger than those in the literature. Our results highlight the importance of adjusting for measurement error across a wide range of empirical settings.

Suggested Citation

  • Jonathan P. Beauchamp & David Cesarini & Magnus Johannesson, 2017. "The psychometric and empirical properties of measures of risk preferences," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 54(3), pages 203-237, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:jrisku:v:54:y:2017:i:3:d:10.1007_s11166-017-9261-3
    DOI: 10.1007/s11166-017-9261-3
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://link.springer.com/10.1007/s11166-017-9261-3
    File Function: Abstract
    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. Syngjoo Choi & Shachar Kariv & Wieland M?ller & Dan Silverman, 2014. "Who Is (More) Rational?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 104(6), pages 1518-1550, June.
    2. Jan-Erik Lönnqvist & Markku Verkasalo & Gari Walkowitz & Philipp C. Wichardt, 2011. "Measuring Individual Risk Attitudes in the Lab: Task or Ask?: An Empirical Comparison," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 370, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
    3. Thomas Dohmen & Armin Falk & David Huffman & Uwe Sunde, 2010. "Are Risk Aversion and Impatience Related to Cognitive Ability?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(3), pages 1238-1260, June.
    4. David Cesarini & Magnus Johannesson & Paul Lichtenstein & Örjan Sandewall & Björn Wallace, 2010. "Genetic Variation in Financial Decision‐Making," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 65(5), pages 1725-1754, October.
    5. Ben Gillen & Erik Snowberg & Leeat Yariv, 2015. "Experimenting with Measurement Error: Techniques with Applications to the Caltech Cohort Study," NBER Working Papers 21517, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Glenn W. Harrison & Eric Johnson & Melayne M. McInnes & E. Elisabet Rutström, 2005. "Temporal stability of estimates of risk aversion," Applied Financial Economics Letters, Taylor and Francis Journals, vol. 1(1), pages 31-35, January.
    7. Camerer, Colin F & Hogarth, Robin M, 1999. "The Effects of Financial Incentives in Experiments: A Review and Capital-Labor-Production Framework," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 19(1-3), pages 7-42, December.
    8. Kimball, Miles S & Sahm, Claudia R & Shapiro, Matthew D, 2008. "Imputing Risk Tolerance From Survey Responses," Journal of the American Statistical Association, American Statistical Association, vol. 103(483), pages 1028-1038.
    9. Gary S. Becker & Nigel Tomes, 1994. "Human Capital and the Rise and Fall of Families," NBER Chapters, in: Human Capital: A Theoretical and Empirical Analysis with Special Reference to Education, Third Edition, pages 257-298, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    10. Milton Friedman, 1957. "Introduction to "A Theory of the Consumption Function"," NBER Chapters, in: A Theory of the Consumption Function, pages 1-6, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    11. Lex Borghans & Angela Lee Duckworth & James J. Heckman & Bas ter Weel, 2008. "The Economics and Psychology of Personality Traits," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 43(4).
    12. Tversky, Amos & Kahneman, Daniel, 1992. "Advances in Prospect Theory: Cumulative Representation of Uncertainty," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 5(4), pages 297-323, October.
    13. John D. Hey & Chris Orme, 2018. "Investigating Generalizations Of Expected Utility Theory Using Experimental Data," World Scientific Book Chapters, in: Experiments in Economics Decision Making and Markets, chapter 3, pages 63-98, World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd..
    14. Jonathan P. Beauchamp & David Cesarini & Magnus Johannesson & Matthijs J. H. M. van der Loos & Philipp D. Koellinger & Patrick J. F. Groenen & James H. Fowler & J. Niels Rosenquist & A. Roy Thurik & N, 2011. "Molecular Genetics and Economics," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 25(4), pages 57-82, Fall.
    15. Thomas Dohmen & Armin Falk & David Huffman & Uwe Sunde & Jürgen Schupp & Gert G. Wagner, 2011. "Individual Risk Attitudes: Measurement, Determinants, And Behavioral Consequences," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 9(3), pages 522-550, June.
    16. 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.
    17. Anke Becker & Thomas Deckers & Thomas Dohmen & Armin Falk & Fabian Kosse, 2012. "The Relationship Between Economic Preferences and Psychological Personality Measures," Annual Review of Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 4(1), pages 453-478, July.
    18. Hans-Martin von Gaudecker & Arthur van Soest & Erik Wengstrom, 2011. "Heterogeneity in Risky Choice Behavior in a Broad Population," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(2), pages 664-694, April.
    19. 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.
    20. Matthew Rabin, 2000. "Risk Aversion and Expected-Utility Theory: A Calibration Theorem," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 68(5), pages 1281-1292, September.
    21. Liran Einav & Amy Finkelstein & Iuliana Pascu & Mark R. Cullen, 2012. "How General Are Risk Preferences? Choices under Uncertainty in Different Domains," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 102(6), pages 2606-2638, October.
    22. Heckman, James J., 2011. "Integrating Personality Psychology into Economics," IZA Discussion Papers 5950, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    23. 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.
    24. Anders Skrondal & Sophia Rabe‐Hesketh, 2009. "Prediction in multilevel generalized linear models," Journal of the Royal Statistical Society Series A, Royal Statistical Society, vol. 172(3), pages 659-687, June.
    25. Bonin, Holger & Dohmen, Thomas & Falk, Armin & Huffman, David & Sunde, Uwe, 2007. "Cross-sectional earnings risk and occupational sorting: The role of risk attitudes," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 14(6), pages 926-937, December.
    26. Ulrike Malmendier & Stefan Nagel, 2011. "Depression Babies: Do Macroeconomic Experiences Affect Risk Taking?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 126(1), pages 373-416.
    27. Almlund, Mathilde & Duckworth, Angela Lee & Heckman, James & Kautz, Tim, 2011. "Personality Psychology and Economics," Handbook of the Economics of Education, in: Erik Hanushek & Stephen Machin & Ludger Woessmann (ed.), Handbook of the Economics of Education, edition 1, volume 4, chapter 0, pages 1-181, Elsevier.
    28. Thomas Dohmen & Armin Falk & David Huffman & Uwe Sunde, 2012. "The Intergenerational Transmission of Risk and Trust Attitudes," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 79(2), pages 645-677.
    29. Shane Frederick, 2005. "Cognitive Reflection and Decision Making," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 19(4), pages 25-42, Fall.
    30. Hans-Martin von Gaudecker & Arthur van Soest & Erik Wengstrom, 2011. "Heterogeneity in Risky Choice Behavior in a Broad Population," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(2), pages 664-694, April.
    31. David Cesarini & Christopher T. Dawes & Magnus Johannesson & Paul Lichtenstein & Björn Wallace, 2009. "Genetic Variation in Preferences for Giving and Risk Taking," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 124(2), pages 809-842.
    32. Solon, Gary, 1992. "Intergenerational Income Mobility in the United States," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(3), pages 393-408, June.
    33. Robert B. Barsky & F. Thomas Juster & Miles S. Kimball & Matthew D. Shapiro, 1997. "Preference Parameters and Behavioral Heterogeneity: An Experimental Approach in the Health and Retirement Study," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 112(2), pages 537-579.
    34. Daniel J. Benjamin & Sebastian A. Brown & Jesse M. Shapiro, 2013. "Who Is ‘Behavioral’? Cognitive Ability And Anomalous Preferences," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 11(6), pages 1231-1255, December.
    35. Milton Friedman, 1957. "A Theory of the Consumption Function," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number frie57-1.
    36. Anika K. Josef & David Richter & Gregory R. Samanez-Larkin & Gert G. Wagner & Ralph Hertwig & Rui Mata, 2016. "Stability and Change in Risk-Taking Propensity across the Adult Lifespan," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 816, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
    37. Steffen Andersen & Glenn W. Harrison & Morten I. Lau & E. Elisabet Rutström, 2008. "Lost In State Space: Are Preferences Stable?," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 49(3), pages 1091-1112, August.
    38. Horowitz, John K., 1992. "A test of intertemporal consistency," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 17(1), pages 171-182, January.
    39. Mark Grinblatt & Matti Keloharju & Juhani Linnainmaa, 2011. "IQ and Stock Market Participation," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 66(6), pages 2121-2164, December.
    40. Rachel Croson & Uri Gneezy, 2009. "Gender Differences in Preferences," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 47(2), pages 448-474, June.
    41. Chetan Dave & Catherine Eckel & Cathleen Johnson & Christian Rojas, 2010. "Eliciting risk preferences: When is simple better?," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 41(3), pages 219-243, December.
    42. Stigler, George J & Becker, Gary S, 1977. "De Gustibus Non Est Disputandum," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 67(2), pages 76-90, March.
    43. Sophia Rabe-Hesketh & Anders Skrondal & Andrew Pickles, 2004. "Generalized multilevel structural equation modeling," Psychometrika, Springer;The Psychometric Society, vol. 69(2), pages 167-190, 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 J. Heckman & Tomáš Jagelka & Timothy D. Kautz, 2019. "Some Contributions of Economics to the Study of Personality," NBER Working Papers 26459, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Ola Andersson & Håkan J. Holm & Jean-Robert Tyran & Erik Wengström, 2020. "Robust inference in risk elicitation tasks," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 61(3), pages 195-209, December.
    3. Thomas, Sheetal & Goel, Mridula & Agrawal, Dipak, 2020. "A framework for analyzing financial behavior using machine learning classification of personality through handwriting analysis," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Finance, Elsevier, vol. 26(C).
    4. Amador, Luis & Brañas-Garza, Pablo & Espín, Antonio M. & Garcia, Teresa & Hernández, Ana, 2019. "Consistent and inconsistent choices under uncertainty: The role of cognitive abilities," MPRA Paper 95178, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    5. Jonathan P. Beauchamp & Daniel J. Benjamin & David I. Laibson & Christopher F. Chabris, 2020. "Measuring and controlling for the compromise effect when estimating risk preference parameters," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 23(4), pages 1069-1099, December.
    6. Chowdhury, Shyamal & Sutter, Matthias & Zimmermann, Klaus F, 2020. "Economic preferences across generations and family clusters: A large-scale experiment," CEPR Discussion Papers 14998, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    7. Boschini, Anne & Dreber, Anna & von Essen, Emma & Muren, Astri & Ranehill, Eva, 2019. "Gender, risk preferences and willingness to compete in a random sample of the Swedish population✰," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 83(C).
    8. Nicos Nicolaou & Scott Shane, 2019. "Common genetic effects on risk-taking preferences and choices," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 59(3), pages 261-279, December.
    9. Besancenot, Damien & Vranceanu, Radu, 2020. "Profession and deception: Experimental evidence on lying behavior among business and medical students," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 179(C), pages 175-187.
    10. Boschini, Anne & Dreber, Anna & von Essen, Emma & Muren, Astri & Ranehill, Eva, 2018. "Gender, risk preferences and willingness to compete in a random sample of the Swedish population," Working Paper Series 10/2018, Stockholm University, Swedish Institute for Social Research.
    11. Sepahvand, Mohammad H & Shahbazian, Roujman & Bali Swain, Ranjula, 2018. "Does revolution change risk attitudes? Evidence from Burkina Faso," Working Paper Series 2019:2, Uppsala University, Department of Economics.
    12. Thomas Dohmen & Simone Quercia & Jana Willrodt, 2018. "Willingness to take risk: The role of risk conception and optimism," CRC TR 224 Discussion Paper Series crctr224_2018_023, University of Bonn and University of Mannheim, Germany.
    13. Holzmeister, Felix & Stefan, Matthias, 2019. "The Risk Elicitation Puzzle Revisited: Across-Methods (In)consistency?," OSF Preprints pj9u2, Center for Open Science.
    14. Richard Karlsson Linnér & Pietro Biroli & Edward Kong & S. Fleur W. Meddens & Robee Wedow & Mark Alan Fontana & Maël Lebreton & Abdel Abdellaoui & Anke R. Hammerschlag & Michel G. Nivard & Aysu Okbay , 2018. "Genome-wide association analyses of risk tolerance and risky behaviors in over one million individuals identify hundreds of loci and shared genetic influences," Working Papers 2018-087, Human Capital and Economic Opportunity Working Group.
    15. Felix Holzmeister & Matthias Stefan, 2019. "The risk elicitation puzzle revisited: Across-methods (in)consistency?," Working Papers 2019-19, Faculty of Economics and Statistics, University of Innsbruck.
    16. Sepahvand, Mohammad H. & Shahbazian, Roujman, 2018. "Sibling Correlation in Risk Attitudes: Evidence from Burkina Faso," Working Paper Series 2018:6, Uppsala University, Department of Economics.
    17. Peilu Zhang & Marco A. Palma, 2021. "Compulsory Versus Voluntary Insurance: An Online Experiment," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 103(1), pages 106-125, January.
    18. Zakharov, Alexei & Bondarenko, Oxana, 2021. "Social status and social learning," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 90(C).
    19. Engel, Christoph & Kirchkamp, Oliver, 2019. "How to deal with inconsistent choices on multiple price lists," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 160(C), pages 138-157.
    20. Mohammad H. Sepahvand & Roujman Shahbazian, 2021. "Sibling correlation in risk attitudes: evidence from Burkina Faso," The Journal of Economic Inequality, Springer;Society for the Study of Economic Inequality, vol. 19(1), pages 45-72, March.
    21. Zhu, Alex Yue Feng, 2019. "Financial risk tolerance of Hong Kong adolescents: A hierarchical model," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 102(C), pages 193-200.
    22. Sepahvand, Mohammad H, 2019. "Agricultural productivity in Burkina Faso: The role of gender andrisk attitudes," Working Paper Series 2019:3, Uppsala University, Department of Economics.
    23. Jagelka, Tomáš, 2020. "Are Economists' Preferences Psychologists' Personality Traits? A Structural Approach," IZA Discussion Papers 13303, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    24. Tomáš Jagelka, 2020. "Are Economists’ Preferences Psychologists’ Personality Traits? A Structural Approach," ECONtribute Discussion Papers Series 014, University of Bonn and University of Cologne, Germany.

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Galizzi, Matteo M. & Machado, Sara R. & Miniaci, Raffaele, 2016. "Temporal stability, cross-validity, and external validity of risk preferences measures: experimental evidence from a UK representative sample," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 67554, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    2. Ola Andersson & Håkan J. Holm & Jean-Robert Tyran & Erik Wengström, 2020. "Robust inference in risk elicitation tasks," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 61(3), pages 195-209, December.
    3. Menkhoff, Lukas & Sakha, Sahra, 2017. "Estimating risky behavior with multiple-item risk measures," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 59(C), pages 59-86.
    4. Gerhardt, Holger & Schildberg-Hörisch, Hannah & Willrodt, Jana, 2017. "Does self-control depletion affect risk attitudes?," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 100(C), pages 463-487.
    5. Tamás Csermely & Alexander Rabas, 2016. "How to reveal people’s preferences: Comparing time consistency and predictive power of multiple price list risk elicitation methods," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 53(2), pages 107-136, December.
    6. Andersson, Ola & Tyran, Jean-Robert & Wengström, Erik & Holm, Håkan J., 2013. "Risk Aversion Relates to Cognitive Ability: Fact or Fiction?," Working Paper Series 964, Research Institute of Industrial Economics.
    7. Sepahvand, Mohammad H & Shahbazian, Roujman & Bali Swain, Ranjula, 2018. "Does revolution change risk attitudes? Evidence from Burkina Faso," Working Paper Series 2019:2, Uppsala University, Department of Economics.
    8. Dohmen, Thomas, 2014. "Behavioral labor economics: Advances and future directions," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(C), pages 71-85.
    9. Ranoua Bouchouicha & Ferdinand M. Vieider, 2019. "Growth, entrepreneurship, and risk-tolerance: a risk-income paradox," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 24(3), pages 257-282, September.
    10. Breitkopf, Laura & Chowdhury, Shyamal K. & Priyam, Shambhavi & Schildberg-Hörisch, Hannah & Sutter, Matthias, 2020. "Do economic preferences of children predict behavior?," DICE Discussion Papers 342, University of Düsseldorf, Düsseldorf Institute for Competition Economics (DICE).
    11. Sepahvand, Mohammad & Shahbazian, Roujman, 2017. "Individual’s Risk Attitudes in sub-Saharan Africa: Determinants and Reliability of Self-reported Risk in Burkina Faso," Working Paper Series 2017:11, Uppsala University, Department of Economics.
    12. Ola Andersson & Håkan J. Holm & Jean-Robert Tyran & Erik Wengström, 2016. "Deciding for Others Reduces Loss Aversion," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 62(1), pages 29-36, January.
    13. Lönnqvist, Jan-Erik & Verkasalo, Markku & Walkowitz, Gari & Wichardt, Philipp C., 2015. "Measuring individual risk attitudes in the lab: Task or ask? An empirical comparison," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 119(C), pages 254-266.
    14. Jeffrey Butler & Luigi Guiso & Tullio Jappelli, 2014. "The role of intuition and reasoning in driving aversion to risk and ambiguity," Theory and Decision, Springer, vol. 77(4), pages 455-484, December.
    15. Guiso, Luigi & Sodini, Paolo, 2013. "Household Finance: An Emerging Field," Handbook of the Economics of Finance, in: G.M. Constantinides & M. Harris & R. M. Stulz (ed.), Handbook of the Economics of Finance, volume 2, chapter 0, pages 1397-1532, Elsevier.
    16. Martin Koudstaal & Randolph Sloof & Mirjam van Praag, 2016. "Risk, Uncertainty, and Entrepreneurship: Evidence from a Lab-in-the-Field Experiment," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 62(10), pages 2897-2915, October.
    17. Lukas Menkhoff & Sahra Sakha, 2016. "Determinants of Risk Aversion over Time: Experimental Evidence from Rural Thailand," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 1582, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
    18. Ferdinand M. Vieider & Peter Martinsson & Pham Khanh Nam & Nghi Truong, 2019. "Risk preferences and development revisited," Theory and Decision, Springer, vol. 86(1), pages 1-21, February.
    19. Menkhoff, Lukas & Sakha, Sahra, 2014. "Multiple-item risk measures," Kiel Working Papers 1980, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW).
    20. T.M. van Huizen & Rob Alessie, 2016. "Risk Aversion and Job Mobility," Working Papers 16-09, Utrecht School of 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:jrisku:v:54:y:2017:i:3:d:10.1007_s11166-017-9261-3. 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 (Springer Nature Abstracting and Indexing). 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.