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Risk Aversion Relates to Cognitive Ability: Fact or Fiction?

  • Andersson, Ola

    ()

    (Research Institute of Industrial Economics (IFN))

  • Tyran, Jean-Robert

    ()

    (Department of Economics, University of Vienna)

  • Wengström, Erik

    ()

    (Department of Economics, Lund University)

  • Holm, Håkan J.

    ()

    (Department of Economics, Lund University)

Recent experimental studies suggest that risk aversion is negatively related to cognitive ability. In this paper we report evidence that this relation might be spurious. We recruit a large subject pool drawn from the general Danish population for our experiment. By presenting subjects with choice tasks that vary the bias induced by random choices, we are able to generate both negative and positive correlations between risk aversion and cognitive ability. Structural estimation allowing for heterogeneity of noise yields no significant relation between risk aversion and cognitive ability. Our results suggest that cognitive ability is related to random decision making rather than to risk preferences.

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Paper provided by Lund University, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 2013:9.

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Length: 38 pages
Date of creation: 12 Apr 2013
Date of revision: 21 Oct 2013
Handle: RePEc:hhs:lunewp:2013_009
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Department of Economics, School of Economics and Management, Lund University, Box 7082, S-220 07 Lund,Sweden

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