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Does Self-Control Depletion Affect Risk Attitudes?

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  • Gerhardt, Holger

    () (University of Bonn)

  • Schildberg-Hörisch, Hannah

    () (Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf)

  • Willrodt, Jana

    () (Düsseldorf Institute for Competition Economics (DICE))

Abstract

A core prediction of recent "dual-self" models is that a person's risk attitudes depend on her current level of self-control. While these models have received a lot of attention, empirical studies tailored to testing their core prediction are lacking. Using two prominent models, we derive precise hypotheses for choices between risky monetary payoffs in a state of low self-control, compared to regular self-control; in particular, lower levels of self-control should induce stronger risk aversion for stakes within a particular range. We test the hypotheses in a lab experiment with a large number of subjects (N = 308), using a well-established self-control depletion task and measuring risk attitudes via finely graduated choice lists. While independent manipulation checks document the effectiveness of our depletion task, we do not find any evidence for increased risk aversion after self-control depletion. Our findings have important implications for the future modeling of decision making under risk.

Suggested Citation

  • Gerhardt, Holger & Schildberg-Hörisch, Hannah & Willrodt, Jana, 2015. "Does Self-Control Depletion Affect Risk Attitudes?," IZA Discussion Papers 9613, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp9613
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    Cited by:

    1. Kocher, Martin G. & Lucks, Konstantin E. & Schindler, David, 2016. "Unleashing Animal Spirits - Self-Control and Overpricing in Experimental Asset Markets," Discussion Papers in Economics 27572, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
    2. Kocher, Martin G. & Lucks, Konstantin E. & Schindler, David, 2016. "Unleashing Animal Spirits - Self-Control and Overpricing in Experimental Asset Markets," Discussion Papers in Economics 27572, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
    3. Roxane Bricet, 2018. "Preferences for information precision under ambiguity," THEMA Working Papers 2018-09, THEMA (THéorie Economique, Modélisation et Applications), Université de Cergy-Pontoise.
    4. Lucks, Konstantin, 2016. "The Impact of Self-Control on Investment Decisions," MPRA Paper 73099, University Library of Munich, Germany.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    risk attitudes; self-control; ego depletion; dual-self models; experiment;

    JEL classification:

    • D03 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Behavioral Microeconomics: Underlying Principles
    • D81 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Criteria for Decision-Making under Risk and Uncertainty
    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior

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