IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/kap/theord/v82y2017i2d10.1007_s11238-016-9562-z.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

Social comparison and risk taking behavior

Author

Listed:
  • Astrid Gamba

    (University of Milan-Bicocca)

  • Elena Manzoni

    (University of Milan-Bicocca)

  • Luca Stanca

    (University of Milan-Bicocca)

Abstract

This paper studies the effects of social comparison on risk taking behavior. In our theoretical framework, decision makers evaluate the consequences of their choices relative to both their own and their peers’ conditions. We test experimentally whether the position in the social ranking affects risk attitudes. Subjects interact in a simulated workplace environment where they perform a work task, receive possibly different wages, and then undertake a risky decision that may produce an extra gain. We find that social comparison matters for risk attitudes. Subjects are more risk averse in the presence of small social gain than social loss. In addition, risk aversion is decreasing in the size of the social gain.

Suggested Citation

  • Astrid Gamba & Elena Manzoni & Luca Stanca, 2017. "Social comparison and risk taking behavior," Theory and Decision, Springer, vol. 82(2), pages 221-248, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:theord:v:82:y:2017:i:2:d:10.1007_s11238-016-9562-z
    DOI: 10.1007/s11238-016-9562-z
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://link.springer.com/10.1007/s11238-016-9562-z
    File Function: Abstract
    Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.

    File URL: https://libkey.io/10.1007/s11238-016-9562-z?utm_source=ideas
    LibKey link: if access is restricted and if your library uses this service, LibKey will redirect you to where you can use your library subscription to access this item
    ---><---

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

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Amrei M. Lahno & Marta Serra-Garcia, 2012. "Peer Effects in Risk Taking," CESifo Working Paper Series 4057, CESifo.
    2. Gary Charness & Matthew Rabin, 2002. "Understanding Social Preferences with Simple Tests," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 117(3), pages 817-869.
    3. Ernst Fehr & Klaus M. Schmidt, 1999. "A Theory of Fairness, Competition, and Cooperation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 114(3), pages 817-868.
    4. Jona Linde & Joep Sonnemans, 2012. "Social comparison and risky choices," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 44(1), pages 45-72, February.
    5. Abel, Andrew B, 1990. "Asset Prices under Habit Formation and Catching Up with the Joneses," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(2), pages 38-42, May.
    6. Johannes Abeler & Armin Falk & Lorenz Goette & David Huffman, 2011. "Reference Points and Effort Provision," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(2), pages 470-492, April.
    7. Efe A. Ok & Levent KoÚkesen, 2000. "Negatively interdependent preferences," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 17(3), pages 533-558.
    8. Axel Ockenfels & Dirk Sliwka & Peter Werner, 2015. "Bonus Payments and Reference Point Violations," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 61(7), pages 1496-1513, July.
    9. David Card & Alexandre Mas & Enrico Moretti & Emmanuel Saez, 2012. "Inequality at Work: The Effect of Peer Salaries on Job Satisfaction," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 102(6), pages 2981-3003, October.
    10. Andrew E. Clark & David Masclet & Marie Claire Villeval, 2010. "Effort and Comparison Income: Experimental and Survey Evidence," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 63(3), pages 407-426, April.
    11. Schwerter, Frederik, 2013. "Social Reference Points and Risk Taking," Bonn Econ Discussion Papers 11/2013, University of Bonn, Bonn Graduate School of Economics (BGSE).
    12. Luigi Guiso & Monica Paiella, 2008. "Risk Aversion, Wealth, and Background Risk," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 6(6), pages 1109-1150, December.
    13. Botond Kőszegi & Matthew Rabin, 2006. "A Model of Reference-Dependent Preferences," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 121(4), pages 1133-1165.
    14. 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.
    15. David Genesove & Christopher Mayer, 2001. "Loss Aversion and Seller Behavior: Evidence from the Housing Market," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 116(4), pages 1233-1260.
    16. Masatlioglu, Yusufcan & Ok, Efe A., 2005. "Rational choice with status quo bias," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 121(1), pages 1-29, March.
    17. Clark, Andrew E. & Oswald, Andrew J., 1996. "Satisfaction and comparison income," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 61(3), pages 359-381, September.
    18. Gill, David & Stone, Rebecca, 2010. "Fairness and desert in tournaments," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 69(2), pages 346-364, July.
    19. 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.
    20. Ingrid Rohde & Kirsten Rohde, 2011. "Risk attitudes in a social context," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 43(3), pages 205-225, December.
    21. Yoram Kroll & Liema Davidovitz, 2003. "Inequality Aversion versus Risk Aversion," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 70(277), pages 19-29, February.
    22. Axel Ockenfels & Gary E. Bolton, 2000. "ERC: A Theory of Equity, Reciprocity, and Competition," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(1), pages 166-193, March.
    23. Fudenberg, Drew & Levine, David K., 2012. "Fairness, risk preferences and independence: Impossibility theorems," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 81(2), pages 606-612.
    24. J. Michelle Brock & Andreas Lange & Erkut Y. Ozbay, 2013. "Dictating the Risk: Experimental Evidence on Giving in Risky Environments," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 103(1), pages 415-437, February.
    25. Fafchamps, Marcel & Kebede, Bereket & Zizzo, Daniel John, 2015. "Keep up with the winners: Experimental evidence on risk taking, asset integration, and peer effects," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 79(C), pages 59-79.
    26. Kota Saito, 2013. "Social Preferences under Risk: Equality of Opportunity versus Equality of Outcome," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 103(7), pages 3084-3101, December.
    27. Linde, Jona & Sonnemans, Joep, 2015. "Decisions under risk in a social and individual context: The limits of social preferences?," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 56(C), pages 62-71.
    28. Urs Fischbacher, 2007. "z-Tree: Zurich toolbox for ready-made economic experiments," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 10(2), pages 171-178, June.
    29. 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.
    30. Alain Cohn & Ernst Fehr & Benedikt Herrmann & Frédéric Schneider, 2014. "Social Comparison And Effort Provision: Evidence From A Field Experiment," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 12(4), pages 877-898, August.
    31. Kahneman, Daniel & Tversky, Amos, 1979. "Prospect Theory: An Analysis of Decision under Risk," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 47(2), pages 263-291, March.
    32. Arvid Hoffmann & Sam Henry & Nikos Kalogeras, 2013. "Aspirations as reference points: an experimental investigation of risk behavior over time," Theory and Decision, Springer, vol. 75(2), pages 193-210, August.
    33. Andreas Friedl & Katharina Lima de Miranda & Ulrich Schmidt, 2014. "Insurance demand and social comparison: An experimental analysis," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 48(2), pages 97-109, April.
    34. Botond Koszegi & Matthew Rabin, 2007. "Reference-Dependent Risk Attitudes," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(4), pages 1047-1073, September.
    35. Gary E. Bolton & Axel Ockenfels, 2010. "Betrayal Aversion: Evidence from Brazil, China, Oman, Switzerland, Turkey, and the United States: Comment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(1), pages 628-633, March.
    36. Fabio Maccheroni & Massimo Marinacci & Aldo Rustichini, 2012. "Social Decision Theory: Choosing within and between Groups," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 79(4), pages 1591-1636.
    37. Gary Charness & Peter Kuhn, 2007. "Does Pay Inequality Affect Worker Effort? Experimental Evidence," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 25, pages 693-723.
    38. Vendrik, Maarten C.M. & Woltjer, Geert B., 2007. "Happiness and loss aversion: Is utility concave or convex in relative income?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 91(7-8), pages 1423-1448, August.
    39. Clark, Andrew E. & Oswald, Andrew J., 1998. "Comparison-concave utility and following behaviour in social and economic settings," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 70(1), pages 133-155, October.
    40. Alain Cohn & Ernst Fehr & Benedikt Herrmann & Frédéric Schneider, 2011. "Social comparison in the workplace: evidence from a field experiment," ECON - Working Papers 007, Department of Economics - University of Zurich.
    41. Munro, Alistair & Sugden, Robert, 2003. "On the theory of reference-dependent preferences," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 50(4), pages 407-428, April.
    42. Glenn W. Harrison & Eric Johnson & Melayne M. McInnes & E. Elisabet Rutström, 2005. "Risk Aversion and Incentive Effects: Comment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(3), pages 897-901, June.
    43. Ferrer-i-Carbonell, Ada, 2005. "Income and well-being: an empirical analysis of the comparison income effect," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(5-6), pages 997-1019, 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. Pablo Brañas-Garza & Elena Molis & Levent Neyse, 2020. "Spread of Information, Inequality and Cooperation," ThE Papers 20/01, Department of Economic Theory and Economic History of the University of Granada..
    2. He, Dan & Shen, Xi & Liu, Qing-Qi, 2020. "The relationship between upward social comparison on SNSs and excessive smartphone use: A moderated mediation analysis," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 116(C).
    3. Alexia Gaudeul, 2013. "Social preferences under uncertainty," Jena Economic Research Papers 2013-024, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena.
    4. Fabio Sabatini & Francesco Sarracino, 2015. "Keeping up with the e-Joneses: Do online social networks raise social comparisons?," Papers 1507.08863, arXiv.org.
    5. Jingcheng Fu & Martin Sefton & Richard Upward, 2017. "Social comparisons in job search: experimental evidence," Discussion Papers 2017-10, The Centre for Decision Research and Experimental Economics, School of Economics, University of Nottingham.
    6. Schmidt, Ulrich & Neyse, Levent & Aleknonyte, Milda, 2019. "Income inequality and risk taking: the impact of social comparison information," EconStor Open Access Articles, ZBW - Leibniz Information Centre for Economics, pages 283-297.
    7. Filippin, Antonio & Gioia, Francesca, 2018. "Competition and subsequent risk-taking behaviour: Heterogeneity across gender and outcomes," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 75(C), pages 84-94.
    8. Michael Kirchler & Florian Lindner & Utz Weitzel, 2018. "Rankings and Risk‐Taking in the Finance Industry," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 73(5), pages 2271-2302, October.
    9. Rau, Holger & Müller, Stephan, 2017. "Decisions under Uncertainty in Social Contexts," VfS Annual Conference 2017 (Vienna): Alternative Structures for Money and Banking 168228, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    10. Friedl, Andreas & Pondorfer, Andreas & Schmidt, Ulrich, 2020. "Gender differences in social risk taking," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 77(C).
    11. Sonnabend, Hendrik & Lackner, Mario, 2020. "Gender differences in overconfidence and decision making in high-stakes competitions: evidence from freediving contests," VfS Annual Conference 2020 (Virtual Conference): Gender Economics 224595, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    12. Brañas-Garza, Pablo & Molis, Elena & Neyse, Levent, 2021. "Exposure to inequality may cause under-provision of public goods: Experimental evidence," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 92(C).
    13. Müller, Stephan & Rau, Holger A., 2019. "Decisions under uncertainty in social contexts," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 116(C), pages 73-95.
    14. Fu, Jingcheng & Sefton, Martin & Upward, Richard, 2019. "Social comparisons in job search," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 168(C), pages 338-361.
    15. Fabio Sabatini & Francesco Sarracino, 2015. "Keeping up with the e-Joneses: Do online social networks raise social comparisons?," Papers 1507.08863, arXiv.org.
    16. Philip Brookins & Jennifer Brown & Dmitry Ryvkin, 2016. "Peer Information and Risk-taking under Competitive and Non-competitive Pay Schemes," NBER Working Papers 22486, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    17. 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.

    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. Müller, Stephan & Rau, Holger A., 2019. "Decisions under uncertainty in social contexts," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 116(C), pages 73-95.
    2. 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.
    3. Rau, Holger & Müller, Stephan, 2017. "Decisions under Uncertainty in Social Contexts," VfS Annual Conference 2017 (Vienna): Alternative Structures for Money and Banking 168228, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    4. Alexia Gaudeul, 2013. "Social preferences under uncertainty," Jena Economic Research Papers 2013-024, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena.
    5. 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.
    6. Schmidt, Ulrich & Neyse, Levent & Aleknonyte, Milda, 2015. "Income inequality and risk taking," Kiel Working Papers 2000, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW).
    7. Axel Ockenfels & Dirk Sliwka & Peter Werner, 2015. "Bonus Payments and Reference Point Violations," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 61(7), pages 1496-1513, July.
    8. Dohmen, Thomas, 2014. "Behavioral labor economics: Advances and future directions," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(C), pages 71-85.
    9. Lahno, Amrei M. & Serra-Garcia, Marta, 2012. "Peer Effects in Risk Taking," Discussion Papers in Economics 14309, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
    10. Gary Bolton & Peter Werner, 2016. "The influence of potential on wages and effort," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 19(3), pages 535-561, September.
    11. Schmidt, Ulrich & Neyse, Levent & Aleknonyte, Milda, 2019. "Income inequality and risk taking: the impact of social comparison information," EconStor Open Access Articles, ZBW - Leibniz Information Centre for Economics, pages 283-297.
    12. Elena Cettolin & Arno Riedl & Giang Tran, 2017. "Giving in the face of risk," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 55(2), pages 95-118, December.
    13. Amrei M. Lahno & Marta Serra-Garcia, 2012. "Peer Effects in Risk Taking," CESifo Working Paper Series 4057, CESifo.
    14. Harald W. Lang, 2016. "You Are Not Alone: Experimental Evidence on Risk Taking When Social Comparisons Matter," Working Papers tax-mpg-rps-2016-12, Max Planck Institute for Tax Law and Public Finance.
    15. Zaunbrecher, Henrik & Gagnon, Nickolas, 2020. "Declining Wages Increase Selfish Redistribution in an Environment with Fixed Income Inequality," Research Memorandum 023, Maastricht University, Graduate School of Business and Economics (GSBE).
    16. Fu, Jingcheng & Sefton, Martin & Upward, Richard, 2019. "Social comparisons in job search," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 168(C), pages 338-361.
    17. Füllbrunn, Sascha & Luhan, Wolfgang J., 2015. "Am I my Peer's Keeper? Social Responsibility in Financial Decision Making," Ruhr Economic Papers 551, RWI - Leibniz-Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-University Bochum, TU Dortmund University, University of Duisburg-Essen.
    18. Leder, Johannes & Betsch, Tilmann, 2016. "Risky choice in interpersonal context: Do people dare because they care?," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 52(C), pages 1-23.
    19. Breitmoser, Yves & Vorjohann, Pauline, 2018. "Welfare-Based Altruism," Rationality and Competition Discussion Paper Series 89, CRC TRR 190 Rationality and Competition.
    20. Anita Gantner & Rudolf Kerschbamer, 2018. "Social interaction effects: The impact of distributional preferences on risky choices," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 56(2), pages 141-164, April.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Social comparison; Risk aversion; Interdependent preferences; Reference point;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
    • D03 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Behavioral Microeconomics: Underlying Principles
    • D81 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Criteria for Decision-Making under Risk and Uncertainty

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    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:theord:v:82:y:2017:i:2:d:10.1007_s11238-016-9562-z. 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: . 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 bibliographic 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.

    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 (email available below). General contact details of provider: http://www.springer.com .

    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.