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Social comparison and risk taking behavior

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  • Astrid Gamba

    (Department of Economics, University of Milan Bicocca)

  • Elena Manzoni

    (Department of Economics, University of Milan Bicocca)

Abstract

This paper studies the effect of social comparison on risk taking behavior. We assume that decision makers evaluate consequences of their choices not only as variations with respect to their economic status but also as variations with respect to the status of their peers. We test experimentally whether different positions in the social ranking determine different risk attitudes. Decision makers interact in a workplace environment, where they receive possibly different wages as compensations for a certain effort and then undertake a risky decision that may give them an extra gain. We find that relative pay comparisons affect decision makers' risk attitudes. In particular, both downward and upward pay comparisons generate more risk loving behavior.

Suggested Citation

  • Astrid Gamba & Elena Manzoni, 2014. "Social comparison and risk taking behavior," Jena Economic Research Papers 2014-001, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena.
  • Handle: RePEc:jrp:jrpwrp:2014-001
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    3. Alexia Gaudeul, 2013. "Social preferences under uncertainty," Jena Economic Research Papers 2013-024, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena.
    4. Fabio Sabatini & Francesco Sarracino, 2015. "Keeping up with the e-Joneses: Do online social networks raise social comparisons?," Papers 1507.08863, arXiv.org.
    5. Jingcheng Fu & Martin Sefton & Richard Upward, 2017. "Social comparisons in job search: experimental evidence," Discussion Papers 2017-10, The Centre for Decision Research and Experimental Economics, School of Economics, University of Nottingham.
    6. Schmidt, Ulrich & Neyse, Levent & Aleknonyte, Milda, 2019. "Income inequality and risk taking: the impact of social comparison information," EconStor Open Access Articles and Book Chapters, ZBW - Leibniz Information Centre for Economics, pages 283-297.
    7. Jeremy Celse & Alexandros Karakostas & Daniel John Zizzo, 2021. "Relative Risk Taking and Social Curiosity," Discussion Papers Series 648, School of Economics, University of Queensland, Australia.
    8. Filippin, Antonio & Gioia, Francesca, 2018. "Competition and subsequent risk-taking behaviour: Heterogeneity across gender and outcomes," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 75(C), pages 84-94.
    9. Michael Kirchler & Florian Lindner & Utz Weitzel, 2018. "Rankings and Risk‐Taking in the Finance Industry," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 73(5), pages 2271-2302, October.
    10. Stefan Grimm & Martin G. Kocher & Michal Krawczyk & Fabrice Lec, 2021. "Sharing or gambling? On risk attitudes in social contexts," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 24(4), pages 1075-1104, December.
    11. Rau, Holger & Müller, Stephan, 2017. "Decisions under Uncertainty in Social Contexts," VfS Annual Conference 2017 (Vienna): Alternative Structures for Money and Banking 168228, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    12. Friedl, Andreas & Pondorfer, Andreas & Schmidt, Ulrich, 2020. "Gender differences in social risk taking," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 77(C).
    13. Dietmar Fehr & Yannick Reichlin, 2021. "Perceived Relative Wealth and Risk Taking," CESifo Working Paper Series 9253, CESifo.
    14. Sonnabend, Hendrik & Lackner, Mario, 2020. "Gender differences in overconfidence and decision making in high-stakes competitions: evidence from freediving contests," VfS Annual Conference 2020 (Virtual Conference): Gender Economics 224595, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    15. Brañas-Garza, Pablo & Molis, Elena & Neyse, Levent, 2021. "Exposure to inequality may cause under-provision of public goods: Experimental evidence," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 92(C).
    16. Müller, Stephan & Rau, Holger A., 2019. "Decisions under uncertainty in social contexts," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 116(C), pages 73-95.
    17. Sean Fahle & Santiago I. Sautua, 2021. "How do risk attitudes affect pro-social behavior? Theory and experiment," Theory and Decision, Springer, vol. 91(1), pages 101-122, July.
    18. Fu, Jingcheng & Sefton, Martin & Upward, Richard, 2019. "Social comparisons in job search," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 168(C), pages 338-361.
    19. Fabio Sabatini & Francesco Sarracino, 2015. "Keeping up with the e-Joneses: Do online social networks raise social comparisons?," Papers 1507.08863, arXiv.org.
    20. Philip Brookins & Jennifer Brown & Dmitry Ryvkin, 2016. "Peer Information and Risk-taking under Competitive and Non-competitive Pay Schemes," NBER Working Papers 22486, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    21. Müller, Stephan & Rau, Holger A., 2017. "Decisions under uncertainty in social contexts," University of Göttingen Working Papers in Economics 290, University of Goettingen, Department of Economics.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Social comparison; risk aversion; interdependent preferences; reference point;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

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

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