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The Impact of Violence on Individual Risk Preferences: Evidence from a Natural Experiment

Author

Listed:
  • Pamela Jakiela

    () (University of Maryland and IZA)

  • Owen Ozier

    () (Development Research Group, The World Bank)

Abstract

This study estimates the impact of Kenya’s post-election violence on individual risk preferences. Because the crisis interrupted a longitudinal survey of more than five thousand Kenyan youth, this timing creates plausibly exogenous variation in exposure to civil conflict by the time of the survey. The study measures individual risk preferences using hypothetical lottery choice questions, which are validated by showing that they predict migration and entrepreneurship in the cross-section. The results indicate that the post-election violence sharply increased individual risk aversion. Immediately after the crisis, the fraction of subjects who are classified as either risk neutral or risk loving dropped by roughly 26 percent. The findings remain robust to an IV estimation strategy that exploits random assignment of respondents to waves of surveying.

Suggested Citation

  • Pamela Jakiela & Owen Ozier, 2015. "The Impact of Violence on Individual Risk Preferences: Evidence from a Natural Experiment," HiCN Working Papers 204, Households in Conflict Network.
  • Handle: RePEc:hic:wpaper:204
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Sascha O. Becker & Irena Grosfeld & Pauline Grosjean & Nico Voigtländer & Ekaterina Zhuravskaya, 2020. "Forced Migration and Human Capital: Evidence from Post-WWII Population Transfers," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 110(5), pages 1430-1463, May.
    2. Friedman, Abigail S., 2020. "Smoking to cope: Addictive behavior as a response to mental distress," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 72(C).
    3. Ryan Brown & Verónica Montalva & Duncan Thomas & Andrea Velásquez, 2019. "Impact of Violent Crime on Risk Aversion: Evidence from the Mexican Drug War," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 101(5), pages 892-904, December.
    4. Chen, Shuo & Xie, Bin, 2020. "Institutional Discrimination and Assimilation: Evidence from the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882," IZA Discussion Papers 13647, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    5. Muhammad Nasir & Marc Rockmore & Chih Ming Tan, 2015. "It's No Spring Break in Cancun: The Effects of Exposure to Violence on Risk Preferences, Pro-Social Behavior, and Mental Health," Working Paper series 15-40, Rimini Centre for Economic Analysis.
    6. Robert Shupp & Scott Loveridge & Mark Skidmore & Jungmin Lim & Cynthia Rogers, 2017. "Risk, Loss, and Ambiguity Aversion after a Natural Disaster," Economics of Disasters and Climate Change, Springer, vol. 1(2), pages 121-142, July.
    7. Haile, Kaleab K. & Nillesen, Eleonora & Tirivayi, Nyasha, 2020. "Impact of formal climate risk transfer mechanisms on risk-aversion: Empirical evidence from rural Ethiopia," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 130(C).
    8. Baird, Sarah & Hamory Hicks, Joan & Ozier, Owen, 2020. "Randomized control trial as social observatory: A case study," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 127(C).
    9. Pierre Magontier, 2020. "Does media coverage affect governments’preparation for natural disasters?," Working Papers 2020/05, Institut d'Economia de Barcelona (IEB).
    10. Aragón, Fernando M. & Molina, Oswaldo & Outes-León, Ingo W., 2020. "Property rights and risk aversion: Evidence from a titling program," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 134(C).
    11. Ferdinand Vieider, 2016. "Certainty Preference, Random Choice, and Loss Aversion: A Comment on "Violence and Risk Preference: Experimental Evidence from Afghanistan"," Economics Discussion Papers em-dp2016-06, Department of Economics, Reading University.
    12. Pierre Magontier, 2020. "Does media coverage affect governments’ preparation for natural disasters?," Diskussionsschriften credresearchpaper29, Universitaet Bern, Departement Volkswirtschaft - CRED.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Risk Preferences; Civil Conflict; Natural Experiment;

    JEL classification:

    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
    • C93 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Field Experiments
    • D01 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Microeconomic Behavior: Underlying Principles
    • D74 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Conflict; Conflict Resolution; Alliances; Revolutions
    • D81 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Criteria for Decision-Making under Risk and Uncertainty

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