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20 years of emotions and risky choices in the lab. A meta-analysis


  • Matteo M. Marini

    () (LEE & Economics Department, Universitat Jaume I, Castellón, Spain; Economics Department, Università degli Studi dell’Insubria, Italy)


The paper is a meta-analysis of experimental studies dealing with the impact of incidental emotions on risky choices, so as to explain traditional heterogeneity of outcomes in the field. After performing an advanced search in Google Scholar and filtering out studies that do not match a list of selection criteria, I include 16 manuscripts from which 46 observations are drawn at the treatment level. At this point, I code a set of moderator variables representing experimental protocols and calculate Cohen (1988)’s d effect size as dependent variable of a weighted least squares (WLS) regression where larger studies are given more weight. Among the results, which are robust to different techniques for computing standard errors, I find that emotions induce higher risk aversion when a multiple price list à la Holt and Laury (2002) is used in place of revealed preferences methods, as well as in case the risk elicitation task is framed as an investment decision instead of an abstract choice. Given the variety of procedures employed in this type of experiments and in the absence of a tailor-made game to answer such research questions, I recommend faithful study replication as preferential path in order to investigate the influence of emotions on risky decision making and ensure comparability.

Suggested Citation

  • Matteo M. Marini, 2018. "20 years of emotions and risky choices in the lab. A meta-analysis," Working Papers 2018/14, Economics Department, Universitat Jaume I, Castellón (Spain).
  • Handle: RePEc:jau:wpaper:2018/14

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    More about this item


    meta-analysis; experimental design; emotions; risky decision-making; effect size;

    JEL classification:

    • C90 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - General
    • D81 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Criteria for Decision-Making under Risk and Uncertainty
    • D91 - Microeconomics - - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics - - - Role and Effects of Psychological, Emotional, Social, and Cognitive Factors on Decision Making


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