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Social Preferences under Risk: the Role of Social Distance

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  • Natalia Montinari

    (University of Lund, Department of Economics)

  • Michela Rancan

    (Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies, European University Institute)

Abstract

In many different contexts individuals take decisions on the behalf of others. However, little is known about how this circumstance affects the decision making process and influences the ultimate individuals' choices. In this paper, we focus on the context of investment decisions and study if (and how) lottery-type investment decisions made on behalf of another person differ i) compared to decisions which do not affect anyone else, and ii) depending on the social distance between who makes the decision and who is affected by it. Our results shows that social distance (i.e., whether the person affected by one's decision is an unknown stranger or a friend) is an important determinant when people decide on the behalf of others. Individuals are heterogeneous in their individual investment strategies but, on average, when deciding on behalf of a friend rather than only for themselves or a stranger, their behavior is closer to expected value maximization, exhibiting less risk taking. We interpret these findings as evidence of other regarding preferences affecting the decision making process in lottery-type decisions when the social distance is shortened.

Suggested Citation

  • Natalia Montinari & Michela Rancan, 2013. "Social Preferences under Risk: the Role of Social Distance," Jena Economic Research Papers 2013-050, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena.
  • Handle: RePEc:jrp:jrpwrp:2013-050
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    Cited by:

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    3. Füllbrunn, Sascha & Luhan, Wolfgang J., 2015. "Am I my Peer's Keeper? Social Responsibility in Financial Decision Making," Ruhr Economic Papers 551, RWI - Leibniz-Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-University Bochum, TU Dortmund University, University of Duisburg-Essen.
    4. Falco, Paolo & Zaccagni, Sarah, 2020. "Promoting social distancing in a pandemic: Beyond the good intentions," OSF Preprints a2nys, Center for Open Science.
    5. Hermann, Daniel & Mußhoff, Oliver & Rau, Holger A., 2019. "The disposition effect when deciding on behalf of others," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 74(C).
    6. Polman, Evan & Wu, Kaiyang, 2020. "Decision making for others involving risk: A review and meta-analysis," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 77(C).
    7. Ola Andersson & Håkan J. Holm & Jean-Robert Tyran & Erik Wengström, 2016. "Deciding for Others Reduces Loss Aversion," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 62(1), pages 29-36, January.
    8. Eriksen, Kristoffer W. & Kvaløy, Ola & Luzuriaga, Miguel, 2020. "Risk-taking on behalf of others," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Finance, Elsevier, vol. 26(C).
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    10. Sascha Füllbrunn & Wolfgang J. Luhan, 2015. "Am I my Peer‘s Keeper? Social Responsibility in Financial Decision Making," Ruhr Economic Papers 0551, Rheinisch-Westfälisches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Universität Dortmund, Universität Duisburg-Essen.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Risk seeking; Other Regarding Preferences; Social Distance; Friends; Lottery-type investment;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • A13 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - Relation of Economics to Social Values
    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
    • D64 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Altruism; Philanthropy; Intergenerational Transfers
    • D81 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Criteria for Decision-Making under Risk and Uncertainty

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