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Risk aversion: an experiment with self-employed workers and salaried workers


  • Nathalie Colombier
  • Laurent Denant Boemont
  • Youenn Loheac
  • David Masclet


In this article we present the results of a lottery-choice experiment to address the following questions: Do risk vary across individuals? What is the impact of context on risk aversion? The originality of this research lies in introducing variability in socio-demographic characteristics by recruiting not only students but also 'real people' among salaried workers and self-employed workers. Our results indicate that risk attitude strongly varies across individuals. In particular, individuals who are self employed tend to be significantly less risk averse than others. In addition, we replicated Holt and Laury (2002, 2005) and Harrison et al. (2005)'s findings that individuals tend to be more risk averse with higher payoffs. Finally, our results concerning a potential experience effect indicate the existence of a significant order effect for both treatments.

Suggested Citation

  • Nathalie Colombier & Laurent Denant Boemont & Youenn Loheac & David Masclet, 2008. "Risk aversion: an experiment with self-employed workers and salaried workers," Applied Economics Letters, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 15(10), pages 791-795.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:apeclt:v:15:y:2008:i:10:p:791-795 DOI: 10.1080/13504850600749149

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. John T. Addison & Claus Schnabel & Joachim Wagner, 2004. "The Course of Research into the Economic Consequences of German Works Councils," British Journal of Industrial Relations, London School of Economics, vol. 42(2), pages 255-281, June.
    2. Richard B. Freeman & Edward P. Lazear, 1995. "An Economic Analysis of Works Councils," NBER Chapters,in: Works Councils: Consultation, Representation, and Cooperation in Industrial Relations, pages 27-52 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Joachim Wagner, 2006. "Exports, foreign direct investment, and productivity: evidence from German firm level data," Applied Economics Letters, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 13(6), pages 347-349.
    4. Thorsten Schank & Claus Schnabel & Joachim Wagner, 2004. "Works councils - sand or grease in the operation of German firms?," Applied Economics Letters, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 11(3), pages 159-161.
    5. Olaf H¸bler & Uwe Jirjahn, 2003. "Works Councils and Collective Bargaining in Germany: The Impact on Productivity and Wages," Scottish Journal of Political Economy, Scottish Economic Society, vol. 50(4), pages 471-491, September.
    6. Addison, John T. & Bellmann, Lutz & Schnabel, Claus & Wagner, Joachim, 2002. "The reform of the German works constitution act: a critical assessment," Discussion Papers 16, Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nuremberg, Chair of Labour and Regional Economics.
    7. repec:mes:challe:v:38:y:1995:i:3:p:53-56 is not listed on IDEAS
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    Cited by:

    1. Nadia Simoes & Nuno Crespo & Sandrina B. Moreira, 2016. "Individual Determinants Of Self-Employment Entry: What Do We Really Know?," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 30(4), pages 783-806, September.
    2. Eisenhauer, Joseph G., 2010. "Rank-ordering of risk preferences with conventional and discrete measures," The Quarterly Review of Economics and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 50(3), pages 291-297, August.
    3. Howard, Gregory E. & Roe, Brian E., 2011. "Comparing the Risk Attitudes of U.S. and German Farmers," 2011 International Congress, August 30-September 2, 2011, Zurich, Switzerland 114528, European Association of Agricultural Economists.
    4. Li, Yue & Mastrogiacomo, Mauro & Hochguertel, Stefan & Bloemen, Hans, 2016. "The role of wealth in the start-up decision of new self-employed: Evidence from a pension policy reform," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 41(C), pages 280-290.

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