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Comprehension and Risk Elicitation in the Field: Evidence from Rural Senegal

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  • Charness, Gary
  • Viceisza, Angelino

Abstract

In the past decade, it has become increasingly common to use simple laboratorygames and decision tasks as a device for measuring both the preferences and understanding ofrural populations in the developing world. In this paper, we report the results observed with threedistinct risk elicitation mechanisms, using samples drawn from the rural population in Senegal,West Africa. We test the understanding of and the level of meaningful responses to the typicalHolt-Laury task, to an adaptation of a simple binary mechanism pioneered by Gneezy andPotters in 1997, and to a non-incentivized willingness-to-risk scale. We find a low level ofunderstanding with the Holt-Laury task and an unlikely-to-be-accurate pattern with thewillingness-to-risk question. Our analysis indicates that the simple binary mechanism hassubstantially more predictive power than does the Holt-Laury mechanism. Our study is acautionary note regarding utilizing either relatively sophisticated risk-elicitation mechanisms ornon-incentivized questions in the rural developing world.

Suggested Citation

  • Charness, Gary & Viceisza, Angelino, 2012. "Comprehension and Risk Elicitation in the Field: Evidence from Rural Senegal," University of California at Santa Barbara, Economics Working Paper Series qt5512d150, Department of Economics, UC Santa Barbara.
  • Handle: RePEc:cdl:ucsbec:qt5512d150
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Herrmann, Tabea & Hübler, Olaf & Menkhoff, Lukas & Schmidt, Ulrich, 2016. "Allais for the poor," Kiel Working Papers 2036, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW).
    2. Ihli, Hanna Julia & Musshoff, Oliver, 2013. "Understanding the Investment Behavior of Ugandan Smallholder Farmers: An Experimental Analysis," 2013 Annual Meeting, August 4-6, 2013, Washington, D.C. 150331, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
    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. Paolo Crosetto & Antonio Filippin, 2013. "The “bomb” risk elicitation task," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 47(1), pages 31-65, August.
    5. Antonio Filippin & Paolo Crosetto, 2016. "A Reconsideration of Gender Differences in Risk Attitudes," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 62(11), pages 3138-3160, November.
    6. Carole Treibich, 2015. "Are Survey Risk Aversion Measurements Adequate in a Low Income Context?," Working Papers halshs-01139222, HAL.
    7. Renate Strobl & Conny Wunsch, 2017. "Does Voluntary Risk Taking Affect Solidarity? Experimental Evidence from Kenya," CESifo Working Paper Series 6578, CESifo Group Munich.
    8. Ihli, Hanna Julia & Chiputwa, Brian & Musshoff, Oliver, 2013. "Do Changing Probabilities or Payoffs in Lottery-Choice Experiments Matter? Evidence from Rural Uganda," Discussion Papers 158146, Georg-August-Universitaet Goettingen, GlobalFood, Department of Agricultural Economics and Rural Development.
    9. Hao, Li & Houser, Daniel & Mao, Lei & Villeval, Marie Claire, 2014. "A Field Study of Chinese Migrant Workers' Attitudes toward Risks, Strategic Uncertainty, and Competitiveness," IZA Discussion Papers 8227, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    10. Pan He & Marcella Veronesi & Stefanie Engel, 2016. "Consistency of Risk Preference Measures and the Role of Ambiguity: An Artefactual Field Experiment from China," Working Papers 03/2016, University of Verona, Department of Economics.
    11. Charness, Gary & Gneezy, Uri & Imas, Alex, 2013. "Experimental methods: Eliciting risk preferences," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 87(C), pages 43-51.
    12. Paolo Crosetto & Antonio Filippin, 2013. "A Theoretical and Experimental Appraisal of Five Risk Elicitation Methods," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 547, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
    13. Ferdinand M. Vieider & Mathieu Lefebvre & Ranoua Bouchouicha & Thorsten Chmura & Rustamdjan Hakimov & Michal Krawczyk & Peter Martinsson, 2015. "Common Components Of Risk And Uncertainty Attitudes Across Contexts And Domains: Evidence From 30 Countries," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 13(3), pages 421-452, June.
    14. Ihli, Hanna Julia & Musshoff, Oliver, 2013. "Investment Behavior of Ugandan Smallholder Farmers: An Experimental Analysis," Discussion Papers 154775, Georg-August-Universitaet Goettingen, GlobalFood, Department of Agricultural Economics and Rural Development.
    15. Norbert Hirschauer & Oliver Musshoff & Syster C. Maart-Noelck & Sven Gruener, 2014. "Eliciting risk attitudes -- how to avoid mean and variance bias in Holt-and-Laury lotteries," Applied Economics Letters, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 21(1), pages 35-38, January.
    16. Sule Alan & Nazli Baydar & Teodora Boneva & Thomas F. Crossley & Seda Ertac, 2013. "Parental Socialization Effort and the Intergenerational Transmission of Risk Preferences," Koç University-TUSIAD Economic Research Forum Working Papers 1313, Koc University-TUSIAD Economic Research Forum.
    17. Menkhoff, Lukas & Sakha, Sahra, 2014. "Multiple-item risk measures," Kiel Working Papers 1980, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW).
    18. Patrick S. Ward & Vartika Singh, 2015. "Using Field Experiments to Elicit Risk and Ambiguity Preferences: Behavioural Factors and the Adoption of New Agricultural Technologies in Rural India," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 51(6), pages 707-724, June.
    19. Verschoor, Arjan & D’Exelle, Ben & Perez-Viana, Borja, 2016. "Lab and life: Does risky choice behaviour observed in experiments reflect that in the real world?," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 128(C), pages 134-148.
    20. Ward, Patrick S. & Singh, Vartika, 2013. "Risk and Ambiguity Preferences and the Adoption of New Agricultural Technologies: Evidence from Field Experiments in Rural India," 2013 Annual Meeting, August 4-6, 2013, Washington, D.C. 150794, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
    21. Paolo Crosetto & Antonio Filippin, 2016. "A theoretical and experimental appraisal of four risk elicitation methods," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 19(3), pages 613-641, September.
    22. Banerjee, Debosree, 2014. "Ethnicity and Gender Differences in Risk, Ambiguity Attitude," Discussion Papers 180978, Georg-August-Universitaet Goettingen, GlobalFood, Department of Agricultural Economics and Rural Development.
    23. Helena Szrek & Li-Wei Chao & Shandir Ramlagan & Karl Peltzer, 2012. "Predicting (un)healthy behavior: A comparison of risk-taking propensity measures," Judgment and Decision Making, Society for Judgment and Decision Making, vol. 7(6), pages 716-727, November.
    24. de Nicola, Francesca, 2015. "Handling the weather : insurance, savings, and credit in West Africa," Policy Research Working Paper Series 7187, The World Bank.
    25. Paul J. Healy & Alexander L. Brown, 2016. "Separated Decisions," Working Papers 16-02, Ohio State University, Department of Economics.

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    Keywords

    Social and Behavioral Sciences; risk elicitation; laboratory experiments in the field; comprehension; rural Senegal;

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