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Sharing or gambling? On risk attitudes in social contexts

  • Kocher, Martin G.
  • Krawczyk, Michal
  • Le Lec, Fabrice

This paper investigates experimentally whether risk attitudes are stable across social contexts. In particular, it focuses on situations where some resource (for instance, a position, decision power, a bonus) has to be allocated between two parties: the decision maker can either opt for sharing the resource or for using a random device that allocates the entire prize to one of the two parties. By varying the relative situation of the decision maker with respect to the other party, we show that risk attitude is strongly affected by social contexts: participants in the experiment seem to be relatively risk seeking when they possess a relatively weaker position than the other party and risk averse when the opposite is true. Our main average results seem to be driven by the behavior of around a quarter of subjects whose choices appear to be fully determined by social comparisons. Various interpretations of the behavior are provided linking our results to preferences under risk with a social reference point and on status-seeking preferences.

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File URL: http://epub.ub.uni-muenchen.de/17383/1/Kocher_Krawczyk_Le_Lec_2013.pdf
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Paper provided by University of Munich, Department of Economics in its series Discussion Papers in Economics with number 17383.

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Date of creation: 24 Oct 2013
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Handle: RePEc:lmu:muenec:17383
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  1. Gary Charness & Matthew Rabin, 2003. "Understanding Social Preferences with Simple Tests," General Economics and Teaching 0303002, EconWPA.
  2. Trautmann, Stefan T. & Wakker, Peter P., 2010. "Process fairness and dynamic consistency," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 109(3), pages 187-189, December.
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  4. Brennan, Geoffrey & González, Luis G. & Güth, Werner & Levati, M. Vittoria, 2008. "Attitudes toward private and collective risk in individual and strategic choice situations," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 67(1), pages 253-262, July.
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  6. Matthew Rabin., 1992. "Incorporating Fairness into Game Theory and Economics," Economics Working Papers 92-199, University of California at Berkeley.
  7. Machina, Mark J, 1989. "Dynamic Consistency and Non-expected Utility Models of Choice under Uncertainty," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 27(4), pages 1622-68, December.
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  9. Gary E. Bolton & Rami Zwick & Elena Katok, 1998. "Dictator game giving: Rules of fairness versus acts of kindness," International Journal of Game Theory, Springer, vol. 27(2), pages 269-299.
  10. Amrei M. Lahno & Marta Serra-Garcia, 2012. "Peer Effects in Risk Taking," CESifo Working Paper Series 4057, CESifo Group Munich.
  11. Gary E. Bolton & Jordi Brandts & Axel Ockenfels, 2000. "Fair Procedures. Evidence from Games Involving Lotteries," UFAE and IAE Working Papers 483.01, Unitat de Fonaments de l'Anàlisi Econòmica (UAB) and Institut d'Anàlisi Econòmica (CSIC).
  12. Tversky, Amos & Kahneman, Daniel, 1992. " Advances in Prospect Theory: Cumulative Representation of Uncertainty," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 5(4), pages 297-323, October.
  13. Trautmann, Stefan T., 2009. "A tractable model of process fairness under risk," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 30(5), pages 803-813, October.
  14. Noam Yuchtman & Florian Ederer & Bruno Ferman & Leonardo Bursztyn, 2013. "Understanding Peer Effects in Financial Decisions: Evidence from a Field Experiment," 2013 Meeting Papers 222, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  15. Michal Krawczyk & Fabrice Le Lec, 2010. "‘Give me a chance!’ An experiment in social decision under risk," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 13(4), pages 500-511, December.
  16. Robert H. Frank, 2005. "Positional Externalities Cause Large and Preventable Welfare Losses," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(2), pages 137-141, May.
  17. Enrico Diecidue & Jeroen van de Ven, 2008. "Aspiration Level, Probability Of Success And Failure, And Expected Utility," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 49(2), pages 683-700, 05.
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