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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:

    1. Kristoffer W. Eriksen & Ola Kvaløy & Miguel Luzuriaga, 2017. "Risk-taking on Behalf of Others," CESifo Working Paper Series 6378, CESifo Group Munich.
    2. 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.
    3. Hermann, Daniel & Mußhoff, Oliver & Rau, Holger A., 2017. "The disposition effect when deciding on behalf of others," Center for European, Governance and Economic Development Research Discussion Papers 332, University of Goettingen, Department of Economics.
    4. repec:zbw:rwirep:0551 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. 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.
    6. 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.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Risk seeking; Other Regarding Preferences; Social Distance; Friends; Lottery-type investment;

    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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