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The separate effects of self-estimated and actual alcohol intoxication on risk-taking: A field experiment


  • Cortés Aguilar Alexandra

    () (Escuela de Economía y Administración, Universidad Industrial de Santander)

  • Antonio M. Espín

    () (GLOBE and Universidad de Granada)

  • Filippos Exadaktylos

    () (GLOBE and Universidad de Granada)

  • Oyediran Olusegun A.

    () (Departamento de Análisis Económico y Finanzas, Universidad de Castilla La Mancha, Albacete, Spain.)

  • Palacio García, Luis Alejandro

    () (Escuela de Economía y Administración (School of Economics and Business), Universidad Industrial de Santander)

  • Antonios Proestakis

    () (GLOBE and Universidad de Granada)


Many risky actions are carried out under the influence of alcohol. However, the effect of alcoholic intoxication over the willingness to take risks is complex and still remains unclear. We conduct an economic field experiment in a natural, drinking and risk-taking environment to analyze how both actual and self-estimated blood alcohol concentration (BAC) levels influence subjects’ choices over monetary lotteries. Our results reveal a negative impact of both actual and self-estimated BAC levels on risk-taking. However, for male and young subjects, we find a positive relationship between BAC underestimation (a pattern of estimation error which mainly occurs at high BAC levels) and the willingness to choose riskier lotteries. Our findings suggest that a risk compensation mechanism is activated only when individuals’ own intoxication level is consciously self-perceived to be high. We conclude therefore that human propensity to engage in risky activities under the influence of alcohol is not due to an enhanced preference for risky choices. In addition to the suggestion in the existing literature that such propensity is due to a weakened ability to perceive risks, our results indicate that an impaired self-perception of own intoxication level may also be an important factor.

Suggested Citation

  • Cortés Aguilar Alexandra & Antonio M. Espín & Filippos Exadaktylos & Oyediran Olusegun A. & Palacio García, Luis Alejandro & Antonios Proestakis, 2012. "The separate effects of self-estimated and actual alcohol intoxication on risk-taking: A field experiment," ThE Papers 10/24, Department of Economic Theory and Economic History of the University of Granada..
  • Handle: RePEc:gra:wpaper:10/24

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    Cited by:

    1. L. Corazzini & A. Filippin & P. Vanin, 2014. "Economic Behavior under Alcohol Influence: An Experiment on Time, Risk, and Social Preferences," Working Papers wp944, Dipartimento Scienze Economiche, Universita' di Bologna.
    2. Klajdi Bregu & Cary Deck & Lindsay Ham & Salar Jahedi, 2017. "The Effects of Alcohol Use on Economic Decision Making," Southern Economic Journal, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 83(4), pages 886-902, April.
    3. Brañas-Garza, Pablo & Cabrales, Antonio & Mateu, Guillermo & Sanchez, Angel & Sutan, Angela, 2018. "Does pre-play social interaction improve negotiation outcomes?," MPRA Paper 90842, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    4. Pablo Brañas-Garza & Antonio Cabrales & Guillermo Mateu & Angel Sanchez & Angela Sutan, 2018. "Does Pre-Play Social Interaction Improve Negotiation Outcomes?," CESifo Working Paper Series 7439, CESifo Group Munich.

    More about this item


    risk-taking; field experiment; alcohol intoxication; self-estimation;

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