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Eliciting Risk and Time Preferences in Field Experiments: Are They Related to Cognitive and Non-Cognitive Outcomes? Are Circumstances Important?


  • Martina MENON
  • Federico PERALI

    (Department of Economics and CHILD, University of Verona)


This study investigates how cognitive and non-cognitive personality traits, and economic preference parameters, such as risk aversion and impatience, relate to each other and to characteristics pertaining to the individual, family and society paying special attention to the role played by circumstances and responsibilities as the result of individuals’ effort. The analysis uses data about cognitive abilities, non-cognitive personality traits, economic preferences and the socio-economic circumstances of a sample of High School leavers in the Veneto region, located in the North-East of Italy, and two samples of university students, one covering the nation as a whole and the other from the University of Verona. We show that it is both feasible and reliable to elicit risk and time attitudes in field experiments. The study of the relations linking cognitive skills, non-cognitive traits, economic parameters and socio-economic circumstances has revealed interesting regularities.

Suggested Citation

  • Martina MENON & Federico PERALI, 2009. "Eliciting Risk and Time Preferences in Field Experiments: Are They Related to Cognitive and Non-Cognitive Outcomes? Are Circumstances Important?," Rivista Internazionale di Scienze Sociali, Vita e Pensiero, Pubblicazioni dell'Universita' Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, vol. 117(3), pages 593-630.
  • Handle: RePEc:vep:journl:y:2009:v:117:i:3:p:593-630

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Pierre Cahuc & André Zylberberg, 2004. "Labor Economics," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 026203316x, July.
    2. Peter A. Diamond, 1982. "Wage Determination and Efficiency in Search Equilibrium," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 49(2), pages 217-227.
    3. Acemoglu, Daron, 2001. "Good Jobs versus Bad Jobs," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 19(1), pages 1-21, January.
    4. Mortensen, Dale T. & Pissarides, Christopher A., 1999. "New developments in models of search in the labor market," Handbook of Labor Economics,in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 39, pages 2567-2627 Elsevier.
    5. Merz, Monika, 1995. "Search in the labor market and the real business cycle," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 36(2), pages 269-300, November.
    6. Andolfatto, David, 1996. "Business Cycles and Labor-Market Search," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(1), pages 112-132, March.
    7. Arthur J. Hosios, 1990. "On The Efficiency of Matching and Related Models of Search and Unemployment," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 57(2), pages 279-298.
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    Cited by:

    1. Antonio Filippin & Paolo Crosetto, 2016. "A Reconsideration of Gender Differences in Risk Attitudes," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 62(11), pages 3138-3160, November.
    2. L. Corazzini & A. Filippin & P. Vanin, 2014. "Economic Behavior under Alcohol Influence: An Experiment on Time, Risk, and Social Preferences," Working Papers wp944, Dipartimento Scienze Economiche, Universita' di Bologna.
    3. Martina Menon & Federico Perali, 2015. "A Field Study on University Enrolment: The Intentions of Prospective Students," CHILD Working Papers Series 33, Centre for Household, Income, Labour and Demographic Economics (CHILD) - CCA.
    4. Paolo Crosetto & Antonio Filippin & Janna Heider, 2015. "A Study of Outcome Reporting Bias Using Gender Differences in Risk Attitudes," CESifo Economic Studies, CESifo, vol. 61(1), pages 239-262.

    More about this item


    Cognitive abilities; Non-cognitive traits; Risk and time preferences; School performance; Reservation wages; Equality of opportunity; Circumstances; Responsibility; Effort;

    JEL classification:

    • I20 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - General
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • K4 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior


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