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Can We Measure Individual Risk Attitudes in a Survey?

  • Ding, Xiaohao

    ()

    (Peking University)

  • Hartog, Joop

    ()

    (University of Amsterdam)

  • Sun, Yuze

    ()

    (Peking University)

We combine a survey and an experiment with real pay-out among Peking University students to measure and validate individual risk attitudes. The experiment involves choosing between a cash payment and playing a lottery. The survey questions ask for the reservation price of a hypothetical lottery and self-assessment of risk attitude on a 0-10 scale. We confirm familiar findings: risk aversion dominates, women are more risk averse than men, risk aversion decreases with increasing parental income, risk attitudes are domain-specific. Correlations between survey measures and experimental measures, are in the right direction, but not very high. The survey measures are valid indicators of experimentally measured risk attitude, but with substantial noise remaining. Heterogeneity in levels and structures of risk attitude is large.

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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 4807.

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Length: 32 pages
Date of creation: Mar 2010
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp4807
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  1. Armin Falk & David Huffman & Gert Wagner & Jurgen Schupp & Thomas Dohmen & Uwe Sunde, 2005. "Individual risk attitudes: New evidence from a large, representative, experimentally-validated survey," Framed Field Experiments 00140, The Field Experiments Website.
  2. Cramer, J. S. & Hartog, J. & Jonker, N. & Van Praag, C. M., 2002. "Low risk aversion encourages the choice for entrepreneurship: an empirical test of a truism," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 48(1), pages 29-36, May.
  3. Diaz-Serrano, Luis & O'Neill, Donal, 2004. "The Relationship between Unemployment and Risk-Aversion," IZA Discussion Papers 1214, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  4. Donkers, A.C.D. & Melenberg, B. & van Soest, A.H.O., 1999. "Estimating Risk Attitudes Using Lotteries; A Large Sample Approach," Discussion Paper 1999-12, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
  5. Guiso, Luigi & Paiella, Monica, 2001. "Risk Aversion, Wealth and Background Risk," CEPR Discussion Papers 2728, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  6. Fausti, Scott W. & Gillespie, Jeffrey M., 2006. "Measuring risk attitude of agricultural producers using a mail survey: how consistent are the methods?," Australian Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics, Australian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society, vol. 50(2), June.
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