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It´s Not My Money: An Experiment on Risk Aversion and the House-money Effect

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  • Luis Roberto Martínez

    ()

  • Christian Jaramillo

    ()

  • Nicolas De Roux

    ()

  • Juan-Camilo Cárdenas

    ()

Abstract

The house-money effect -people´s tendency to be more daring with easily-gotten money- is abehavioral pattern that poses questions about the external validity of experiments in economics: to what extent do people behave in experiments like they would have in a real-life situation, given that they play with easily-gotten house money? We ran an economic experiment with 66 students to measure the house-money effect on their risk preferences. They received an amount of money with which they made risky decisions involving losses and gains; a treatment group got the money 21 days in advance and a control group got it the day of the experiment. We find that, when facing possible losses, people in the treatment group showed a lower tolerance to risk than people in the control group. If the players are assumed to have a CRRA utility function and to behave according to expected-utility theory, the risk-attitude adjustment corresponds to an average increase of 1 in their risk aversion coefficient. While the exact pattern of this house-money adjustment differs by gender, it is not possible to determine the sign of this gender effect unambiguously. In any case, it is advisable to include credible controls for the house-money effect in experimental work in economics.

Suggested Citation

  • Luis Roberto Martínez & Christian Jaramillo & Nicolas De Roux & Juan-Camilo Cárdenas, 2010. "It´s Not My Money: An Experiment on Risk Aversion and the House-money Effect," DOCUMENTOS CEDE 006712, UNIVERSIDAD DE LOS ANDES-CEDE.
  • Handle: RePEc:col:000089:006712
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    File URL: http://economia.uniandes.edu.co/publicaciones/dcede2010-02.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Lucy Ackert & Narat Charupat & Bryan Church & Richard Deaves, 2006. "An experimental examination of the house money effect in a multi-period setting," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 9(1), pages 5-16, April.
    2. Juan Camilo Cárdenas & Jeffrey Carpenter, 2010. "Risk Attitudes and Well-being in Latin America," DOCUMENTOS CEDE 007718, UNIVERSIDAD DE LOS ANDES-CEDE.
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    8. Richard H. Thaler & Eric J. Johnson, 1990. "Gambling with the House Money and Trying to Break Even: The Effects of Prior Outcomes on Risky Choice," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 36(6), pages 643-660, June.
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    Cited by:

    1. Brice Corgnet & Roberto Hernán González & Praveen Kujal & David Porter, 2013. "The Effect of Earned vs. House Money on Price Bubble Formation in Experimental Asset Markets," Working Papers 13-04, Chapman University, Economic Science Institute.
    2. Danková, Katarína & Servátka, Maroš, 2015. "The house money effect and negative reciprocity," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 48(C), pages 60-71.
    3. Christoph Bühren & Thorben C. Kundt, 2013. "Worker or Shirker – Who Evades More Taxes? A Real Effort Experiment," MAGKS Papers on Economics 201326, Philipps-Universität Marburg, Faculty of Business Administration and Economics, Department of Economics (Volkswirtschaftliche Abteilung).
    4. Daniel Houser & Erte Xiao, 2015. "House money effects on trust and reciprocity," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 163(1), pages 187-199, April.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    House-money effect; risk aversion; prospect theory; economic experiment; external validity.;

    JEL classification:

    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
    • D03 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Behavioral Microeconomics: Underlying Principles
    • D81 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Criteria for Decision-Making under Risk and Uncertainty

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