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Aging and Attitudes Towards Strategic Uncertainty and Competition: An Artefactual Field Experiment in a Swiss Bank


  • Madies, Thierry

    () (University of Fribourg)

  • Villeval, Marie Claire

    () (CNRS, GATE)

  • Wasmer, Malgorzata

    () (University of Fribourg)


We study the attitudes of junior and senior employees towards strategic uncertainty and competition, by means of a market entry game inspired by Camerer and Lovallo (1999). Seniors exhibit higher entry rates compared to juniors, especially when earnings depend on relative performance. This difference persists after controlling for attitudes towards non-strategic uncertainty and for beliefs on others' competitiveness and ability. Social image matters, as evidenced by the fact that seniors enter more when they predict others enter more and when they are matched with a majority of juniors. This contradicts the stereotype of risk averse and less competitive older employees.

Suggested Citation

  • Madies, Thierry & Villeval, Marie Claire & Wasmer, Malgorzata, 2012. "Aging and Attitudes Towards Strategic Uncertainty and Competition: An Artefactual Field Experiment in a Swiss Bank," IZA Discussion Papers 6642, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp6642

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    5. Björklund, Anders & Palme, Mårten, 1997. "Income Redistribution within the Life Cycle versus between Individuals: Empirical Evidence Using Swedish Panel Data," SSE/EFI Working Paper Series in Economics and Finance 197, Stockholm School of Economics.
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    More about this item


    experiment; confidence; self-image; competitiveness; ambiguity; risk; aging;

    JEL classification:

    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness
    • J14 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of the Elderly; Economics of the Handicapped; Non-Labor Market Discrimination
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • M5 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Personnel Economics

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