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Impact of Violent Crime on Risk Aversion: Evidence from the Mexican Drug War

Listed author(s):
  • Ryan Brown
  • Verónica Montalva
  • Duncan Thomas
  • Andrea Velásquez

Whereas attitudes towards risk are thought to play an important role in many decisions over the life-course, factors that affect those attitudes are not fully understood. Using longitudinal survey data collected in Mexico before and during the Mexican war on drugs, we investigate how an individual’s risk attitudes change with variation in levels of insecurity and uncertainty brought on by unprecedented changes in local-area violent crime due to the war on drugs. Exploiting the fact that the timing, virulence and spatial distribution of changes in violent crime were unanticipated, we establish the changes can plausibly be treated as exogenous in models that also take into account unobserved characteristics of individuals that are fixed over time. As local-area violent crime increases, there is a rise in risk aversion that is distributed through the entire local population.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 23181.

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Date of creation: Feb 2017
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:23181
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  1. Miles S. Kimball & Claudia R. Sahm & Matthew D. Shapiro, 2007. "Imputing Risk Tolerance from Survey Responses," NBER Working Papers 13337, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  10. Chie Hanaoka & Hitoshi Shigeoka & Yasutora Watanabe, 2015. "Do Risk Preferences Change? Evidence from Panel Data before and after the Great East Japan Earthquake," NBER Working Papers 21400, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  12. Maarten J. Voors & Eleonora E. M. Nillesen & Philip Verwimp & Erwin H. Bulte & Robert Lensink & Daan P. Van Soest, 2012. "Violent Conflict and Behavior: A Field Experiment in Burundi," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 102(2), pages 941-964, April.
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