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On a Simple Survey Measure of Individual Risk Aversion

  • Joop Hartog
  • Ada Ferrer-i-Carbonell
  • Nicole Jonker

We ask individuals for their reservation price of a specified lottery and deduce their Arrow-Pratt measure of risk aversion. This allows direct testing of common hy-poth-eses on risk atti-tudes in three datasets. We find that risk aversion indeed falls with income and wealth. Entre-preneurs are less risk averse than employees, civil servants are more risk averse than private sector employees, and women are more risk averse than men. We analyze six different specifications of the lottery question in a single data set and find quite consistent results. We conclude that a simple lottery ques-tion is a promising survey in-strument to extract differ-ences in risk attitudes among individuals.

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Paper provided by CESifo Group Munich in its series CESifo Working Paper Series with number 363.

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Date of creation: 2000
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Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_363
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  1. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521456821 is not listed on IDEAS
  2. Amos Tversky & Daniel Kahneman, 1979. "Prospect Theory: An Analysis of Decision under Risk," Levine's Working Paper Archive 7656, David K. Levine.
  3. Gerrit de Wit & Niels Bosma & Mirjam van Praag, 2000. "Determinants of Successful Entrepreneurship," Scales Research Reports H200002, EIM Business and Policy Research.
  4. Battalio, Raymond C & Kagel, John H & Jiranyakul, Komain, 1990. " Testing between Alternative Models of Choice under Uncertainty: Some Initial Results," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 3(1), pages 25-50, March.
  5. Hans Binswanger, 1980. "Attitudes toward risk: Experimental measurement in rural india," Artefactual Field Experiments 00009, The Field Experiments Website.
  6. van de Stadt, Huib & Antonides, Gerrit & van Praag, Bernard M. S., 1984. "Empirical testing of the expected utility model," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 5(1), pages 17-29, March.
  7. Robert B. Barsky & Miles S. Kimball & F. Thomas Juster & Matthew D. Shapiro, 1995. "Preference Parameters and Behavioral Heterogeneity: An Experimental Approach in the Health and Retirement Survey," NBER Working Papers 5213, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Hans Binswanger, 1981. "Attitudes toward risk: Theoretical implications of an experiment in rural india," Artefactual Field Experiments 00010, The Field Experiments Website.
  9. Barsky, Robert B, et al, 1997. "Preference Parameters and Behavioral Heterogeneity: An Experimental Approach in the Health and Retirement Study," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 112(2), pages 537-79, May.
  10. Evans, Dorla A, 1997. "The Role of Markets in Reducing Expected Utility Violations," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 105(3), pages 622-36, June.
  11. Don Bellante & Albert N. Link, 1981. "Are public sector workers more risk averse than private sector workers?," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 34(3), pages 408-412, April.
  12. repec:dgr:kubcen:199912 is not listed on IDEAS
  13. Harless, David W & Camerer, Colin F, 1994. "The Predictive Utility of Generalized Expected Utility Theories," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 62(6), pages 1251-89, November.
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