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Risk-Taking Behavior in the Wake of Natural Disasters

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  • Lisa Cameron
  • Manisha Shah

Abstract

We investigate whether experiencing a natural disaster affects risk-taking behavior. We conduct standard risk games (using real money) with randomly selected individuals in rural Indonesia. We find that individuals who recently suffered a flood or earthquake exhibit more risk aversion. Experiencing a natural disaster causes people to perceive that they now face a greater risk of a future disaster. We conclude that this change in perception of background risk causes people to take fewer risks. We provide evidence that experimental risk behavior is correlated with real life risk behavior, highlighting the importance of our results.

Suggested Citation

  • Lisa Cameron & Manisha Shah, 2013. "Risk-Taking Behavior in the Wake of Natural Disasters," NBER Working Papers 19534, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:19534
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D81 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Criteria for Decision-Making under Risk and Uncertainty
    • O12 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Microeconomic Analyses of Economic Development
    • Q54 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Climate; Natural Disasters and their Management; Global Warming

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