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Will the Working Poor Invest in Human Capital? A Laboratory Experiment


  • Catherine Eckel
  • Cathleen Johnson
  • Claude Montmarquette


This paper presents the results of a laboratory experiment involving some 250 subjects in the Montreal area. The experiment focused on three main questions : (1) Will the working poor invest in various assets? (2) Are these subjects willing to delay consumption for substantial returns? (3) How do these subjects view risky choices? Answering these questions will help answering the key research question : Given the right incentive, will the working poor save to invest in human capital? To view the report, please click here : Ce rapport présente les résultats d'une expérience en laboratoire impliquant environ 250 sujets résidant dans la région de Montréal. L'expérience tente de répondre à trois questions : 1) Les travailleurs à faible revenu investissent-ils dans des actifs diversifiés?; 2) Les sujets sont-ils prêts à reporter leur consommation dans le futur en échange de rendements financiers substantiels?; 3) Comment ces sujets perçoivent-ils les choix risqués? Les réponses à ces questions vont permettre d'éclairer le sujet principal de cette recherche menée par le SRDC, à savoir : Si on leur procure les bonnes incitations, les travailleurs à faible revenu auront-ils tendance à épargner pour investir dans du capital humain? Pour visionner l'intégralité du rapport cliquez ici :

Suggested Citation

  • Catherine Eckel & Cathleen Johnson & Claude Montmarquette, 2002. "Will the Working Poor Invest in Human Capital? A Laboratory Experiment," CIRANO Project Reports 2002rp-08, CIRANO.
  • Handle: RePEc:cir:cirpro:2002rp-08

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Serge Garcia & Alban Thomas, 2002. "An Empirical Analysis of Water Supply Contracts," CIRANO Working Papers 2002s-01, CIRANO.
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    Cited by:

    1. Eckel, Catherine & Johnson, Cathleen & Montmarquette, Claude, 2013. "Human capital investment by the poor: Informing policy with laboratory experiments," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 95(C), pages 224-239.
    2. E. Elisabet Rutstrom & Glenn W. Harrison & Morten I. Lau, 2004. "Estimating Risk Attitudes in Denmark," Econometric Society 2004 Australasian Meetings 201, Econometric Society.
    3. McLeish, Kendra N & Oxoby, Robert J, 2006. "Measuring Impatience: Elicited Discount Rates and the Barratt Impulsiveness Scale," MPRA Paper 1524, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    4. Catherine Eckel & Cathleen Johnson & Claude Montmarquette, 2004. "Saving Decisions of the Working Poor: Short-and Long-Term Horizons," CIRANO Working Papers 2004s-45, CIRANO.
    5. Cathleen Johnson & Claude Montmarquette, 2011. "Loan Aversion among Canadian High School Students," CIRANO Working Papers 2011s-67, CIRANO.

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