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Status, Control Beliefs, and Risk-Taking

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  • Dietmar Fehr
  • Yannick Reichlin

Abstract

We show that relative standing in the wealth distribution shapes individuals’ willingness to take risks. Using a large-scale representative survey, we manipulated respondents’ perceived relative standing by randomly varying the range of response categories when asking about their wealth level. Respondents who are induced to perceive their relative wealth as low display more tolerance towards risk in a subsequent incentivized lottery task. This effect is mainly driven by individuals who more firmly believe that life outcomes are beyond their control. This heterogeneity in individual-specific beliefs highlights the benefits of incorporating personality constructs into economic analysis.

Suggested Citation

  • Dietmar Fehr & Yannick Reichlin, 2021. "Status, Control Beliefs, and Risk-Taking," CESifo Working Paper Series 9253, CESifo.
  • Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_9253
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    relative wealth; risk preferences; survey experiment; locus of control;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • C93 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Field Experiments
    • D31 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Personal Income and Wealth Distribution
    • D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement
    • D81 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Criteria for Decision-Making under Risk and Uncertainty
    • D91 - Microeconomics - - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics - - - Role and Effects of Psychological, Emotional, Social, and Cognitive Factors on Decision Making
    • E21 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Consumption; Saving; Wealth

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