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Individual and Couple Decision Behavior under Risk: The Power of Ultimate Control


  • André de Palma
  • Nathalie Picard
  • Anthony Ziegelmeyer



This paper reports results of an experiment designed to analyze the link between risky decisions made by couples and risky decisions made separately by each spouse. We estimate both the spouses and the couples’ degrees of risk aversion and we assess how the risk preferences of the two spouses aggregate when they make risky decisions. This enables us to investigate the decision process that takes place when couples make risky decisions. We find that in most couples men have more decision-making power than women and that women’s decision-making power increases when they ultimately implement the joint decisions.

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  • André de Palma & Nathalie Picard & Anthony Ziegelmeyer, 2008. "Individual and Couple Decision Behavior under Risk: The Power of Ultimate Control," Papers on Strategic Interaction 2006-22, Max Planck Institute of Economics, Strategic Interaction Group.
  • Handle: RePEc:esi:discus:2006-22

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Hans P. Binswanger, 1980. "Attitudes Toward Risk: Experimental Measurement in Rural India," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 62(3), pages 395-407.
    2. Vermeulen, Frederic, 2002. " Collective Household Models: Principles and Main Results," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 16(4), pages 533-564, September.
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    5. Charles A. Holt & Susan K. Laury, 2002. "Risk Aversion and Incentive Effects," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(5), pages 1644-1655, December.
    6. Michael Lechner, 2005. "The Empirical Analysis of East German Fertility after," Labor and Demography 0505005, EconWPA.
    7. Steffen Andersen & Glenn Harrison & Morten Lau & E. Rutström, 2009. "Elicitation using multiple price list formats," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 12(3), pages 365-366, September.
    8. Ian Bateman & Alistair Munro, 2005. "An Experiment on Risky Choice Amongst Households," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 115(502), pages 176-189, March.
    9. Chiappori, Pierre-Andre, 1988. "Rational Household Labor Supply," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 56(1), pages 63-90, January.
    10. Maurizio Mazzocco, 2004. "Saving, Risk Sharing, and Preferences for Risk," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(4), pages 1169-1182, September.
    11. Karni, Edi & Safra, Zvi, 1987. ""Preference Reversal' and the Observability of Preferences by Experimental Methods," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 55(3), pages 675-685, May.
    12. Thomas Baumann & Carsten Schmidt, 2004. "The Jena video laboratory for economic experiments," Papers on Strategic Interaction 2004-06, Max Planck Institute of Economics, Strategic Interaction Group.
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    Cited by:

    1. Carlsson, Fredrik & Martinsson, Peter & Qin, Ping & Sutter, Matthias, 2009. "Household decision making and the influence of spouses’ income, education, and communist party membership: A field experiment in rural China," Working Papers in Economics 356, University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics.
    2. Schröder, Melanie & Schmitt, Norma & Heynemann, Britta & Brünn, Claudia, 2013. "Income Taxation and Labor Supply: An Experiment on Couple's Work Effort," Annual Conference 2013 (Duesseldorf): Competition Policy and Regulation in a Global Economic Order 79735, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    3. Alistair Munro & Bereket Kebede & Marcela Tarazona-Gomez & Arjan Verschoor, 2011. "Autonomy or efficiency: An experiment on household decisions in two regions of India," Working Paper series, University of East Anglia, Centre for Behavioural and Experimental Social Science (CBESS) 11-02, School of Economics, University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK..
    4. Schröder, Melanie & Schmitt, Norma & Mantei, Britta & Brünn, Claudia, 2014. "Social Norms or Income Taxation - What Drives Couple's Labor Supply? Experimental Evidence," Annual Conference 2014 (Hamburg): Evidence-based Economic Policy 100375, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    5. André De Palma & Nathalie Picard & Jean-Luc Prigent, 2009. "Prise en compte de l'attitude face au risque dans le cadre de la directive MiFID," Working Papers hal-00418892, HAL.

    More about this item


    Household decision-making; Risk; Experiments;

    JEL classification:

    • C92 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Group Behavior
    • D13 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Household Production and Intrahouse Allocation
    • D80 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - General

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