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Sharing or gambling? On risk attitudes in social contexts

Author

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

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Kocher, Martin G. & Krawczyk, Michal & Le Lec, Fabrice, 2013. "Sharing or gambling? On risk attitudes in social contexts," Discussion Papers in Economics 17383, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:lmu:muenec:17383
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    File URL: https://epub.ub.uni-muenchen.de/17383/1/Kocher_Krawczyk_Le_Lec_2013.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    6. 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.
    7. 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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    Cited by:

    1. Harald W. Lang, 2016. "You Are Not Alone: Experimental Evidence on Risk Taking When Social Comparisons Matter," Working Papers tax-mpg-rps-2016-12, Max Planck Institute for Tax Law and Public Finance.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    risk attitudes; risk preferences in social context; social reference point; status-seeking preferences; social preferences under risk;

    JEL classification:

    • A13 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - Relation of Economics to Social Values
    • C65 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Mathematical Methods; Programming Models; Mathematical and Simulation Modeling - - - Miscellaneous Mathematical Tools
    • C72 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Noncooperative Games
    • D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement
    • D03 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Behavioral Microeconomics: Underlying Principles

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