IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this paper

Choices under Risk in Rural Peru

  • Galarza, Francisco

This paper estimates the risk preferences of cotton farmers in Southern Peru, using the results from a multiple-price-list lottery game. Assuming that preferences conform to two of the leading models of decision under risk--Expected Utility Theory (EUT) and Cumulative Prospect Theory (CPT)--there is strong evidence of moderate risk aversion. Once we include individual characteristics in the estimation of risk parameters, we observe that farmers use subjective nonlinear probability weighting, a behavior consistent with CPT. Interestingly, when we allow for preference heterogeneity via the estimation of mixture models--where the proportion of subjects who behave according to EUT or to CPT is endogenously determined--we see that the majority of farmers’ choices are best explained by CPT. We further hypothesize that the multiple switching behavior observed in our sample can be explained by nonlinear probability weighting made in a context of large random calculation mistakes; the evidence found on this regard is mixed. Finally, we find that attaining higher education is the single most important individual characteristic correlated with risk preferences, a result that suggests a connection between cognitive abilities and behavior towards risk.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
File Function: original version
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 17708.

in new window

Date of creation: Aug 2009
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:17708
Contact details of provider: Postal:
Ludwigstraße 33, D-80539 Munich, Germany

Phone: +49-(0)89-2180-2459
Fax: +49-(0)89-2180-992459
Web page:

More information through EDIRC

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. John A. List, 2004. "Neoclassical Theory Versus Prospect Theory: Evidence from the Marketplace," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 72(2), pages 615-625, 03.
  2. Hey, John D & Orme, Chris, 1994. "Investigating Generalizations of Expected Utility Theory Using Experimental Data," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 62(6), pages 1291-1326, November.
  3. Guiso, Luigi & Paiella, Monica, 2001. "Risk Aversion, Wealth and Background Risk," CEPR Discussion Papers 2728, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  4. Thomas Dohmen & Armin Falk & David Huffman & Uwe Sunde, 2010. "Are Risk Aversion and Impatience Related to Cognitive Ability?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(3), pages 1238-60, June.
  5. Elaine Meichen Liu, 2008. "Time to Change What to Sow: Risk Preferences and Technology Adoption Decisions of Cotton Farmers in China," Working Papers 1064, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
  6. Camerer, Colin F & Ho, Teck-Hua, 1994. "Violations of the Betweenness Axiom and Nonlinearity in Probability," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 8(2), pages 167-96, March.
  7. Feder, Gershon & Just, Richard E & Zilberman, David, 1985. "Adoption of Agricultural Innovations in Developing Countries: A Survey," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 33(2), pages 255-98, January.
  8. Hans P. Binswanger, 1980. "Attitudes Toward Risk: Experimental Measurement in Rural India," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 62(3), pages 395-407.
  9. Jeffery Carpenter & Juan Camilo Cardenas, 2006. "Behavioural Development Economics: Lessons from field labs in the developing world," Middlebury College Working Paper Series 0616, Middlebury College, Department of Economics.
  10. Kenneth Train, 2003. "Discrete Choice Methods with Simulation," Online economics textbooks, SUNY-Oswego, Department of Economics, number emetr2, December.
  11. Anna Conte & John D Hey & Peter G Moffatt, 2007. "Mixture Models of Choice Under Risk," Discussion Papers 07/06, Department of Economics, University of York.
  12. Daniel J. Benjamin & Sebastian A. Brown & Jesse M. Shapiro, 2013. "Who Is ‘Behavioral’? Cognitive Ability And Anomalous Preferences," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 11(6), pages 1231-1255, December.
  13. Charles A. Holt & Susan K. Laury, 2002. "Risk Aversion and Incentive Effects," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(5), pages 1644-1655, December.
  14. Feder, Gershon, 1980. "Farm Size, Risk Aversion and the Adoption of New Technology under Uncertainty," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 32(2), pages 263-83, July.
  15. Imran Rasul & John List, 2010. "Field experiments in labor economics," Artefactual Field Experiments 00092, The Field Experiments Website.
  16. Marc Rieger & Mei Wang, 2006. "Cumulative prospect theory and the St. Petersburg paradox," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 28(3), pages 665-679, 08.
  17. David Bruner & Michael McKee & Rudy Santore, 2008. "Hand in the Cookie Jar: An Experimental Investigation of Equity-based Compensation and Managerial Fraud," Working Papers 08-05, Department of Economics, Appalachian State University.
  18. John D Hey & Andrea Morone & Ulrich Schmidt, 2007. "Noise and Bias in Eliciting Preferences," Discussion Papers 07/04, Department of Economics, University of York.
  19. Steffen Andersen & Glenn Harrison & Morten Lau & E. Rutström, 2009. "Elicitation using multiple price list formats," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 12(3), pages 365-366, September.
  20. Drazen Prelec, 1998. "The Probability Weighting Function," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 66(3), pages 497-528, May.
  21. Charles A. Holt & Susan K. Laury, 2005. "Risk Aversion and Incentive Effects: New Data without Order Effects," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(3), pages 902-912, June.
  22. Elaine M. Liu, 2013. "Time to Change What to Sow: Risk Preferences and Technology Adoption Decisions of Cotton Farmers in China," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 95(4), pages 1386-1403, October.
  23. Adrian Bruhin & Helga Fehr-Duda & Thomas Epper, 2010. "Risk and Rationality: Uncovering Heterogeneity in Probability Distortion," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 78(4), pages 1375-1412, 07.
  24. Glenn Harrison & E. Rutström, 2009. "Expected utility theory and prospect theory: one wedding and a decent funeral," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 12(2), pages 133-158, June.
  25. Glenn W. Harrison & Eric Johnson & Melayne M. McInnes & E. Elisabet Rutström, 2005. "Risk Aversion and Incentive Effects: Comment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(3), pages 897-901, June.
  26. Binswanger, Hans P, 1981. "Attitudes toward Risk: Theoretical Implications of an Experiment in Rural India," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 91(364), pages 867-90, December.
  27. Chris Starmer, 2000. "Developments in Non-expected Utility Theory: The Hunt for a Descriptive Theory of Choice under Risk," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 38(2), pages 332-382, June.
  28. Glenn Harrison & John List, 2004. "Field experiments," Artefactual Field Experiments 00058, The Field Experiments Website.
  29. Kahneman, Daniel & Tversky, Amos, 1979. "Prospect Theory: An Analysis of Decision under Risk," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 47(2), pages 263-91, March.
  30. Elisabet Rutstrom & Glenn Harrison & Melonie Williams & Morten Lau, 2006. "Eliciting risk and time preferences using field experiments: Some methodological issues," Artefactual Field Experiments 00063, The Field Experiments Website.
  31. Burks, Stephen V. & Carpenter, Jeffrey P. & Götte, Lorenz & Rustichini, Aldo, 2008. "Cognitive Skills Explain Economic Preferences, Strategic Behavior, and Job Attachment," IZA Discussion Papers 3609, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  32. Elisabet Rutstrom & Glenn Harrison & Morten Lau, 2004. "Estimating risk attitudes in denmark: A field experiment," Artefactual Field Experiments 00059, The Field Experiments Website.
  33. Quiggin, John, 1982. "A theory of anticipated utility," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 3(4), pages 323-343, December.
  34. Eckel, Catherine C. & Wilson, Rick K., 2004. "Is trust a risky decision?," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 55(4), pages 447-465, December.
  35. Galarza, Francisco, 2009. "Risk, Credit, and Insurance in Peru: Field Experimental Evidence," MPRA Paper 17833, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  36. repec:pri:indrel:526 is not listed on IDEAS
  37. Loomes, G. & Moffatt, P.G. & Sugden, R., 1998. "A Microeconometric Test of Alternative Stochastic Theories of Risky Choice," University of East Anglia Discussion Papers in Economics 9806, School of Economics, University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK..
  38. Shane Frederick, 2005. "Cognitive Reflection and Decision Making," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 19(4), pages 25-42, Fall.
  39. Catherine C. Eckel & Philip J. Grossman, 2008. "Forecasting Risk Attitudes: An Experimental Study Using Actual and Forecast Gamble Choices," Monash Economics Working Papers archive-01, Monash University, Department of Economics.
  40. Jim Engle-Warnick & Javier Escobal & Sonia Laszlo, 2007. "Ambiguity Aversion As A Predictor Of Technology Choice: Experimental Evidence From Peru," Departmental Working Papers 2007-04, McGill University, Department of Economics.
  41. Sarah Jacobson & Ragan Petrie, 2009. "Learning from mistakes: What do inconsistent choices over risk tell us?," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 38(2), pages 143-158, April.
  42. Tomomi Tanaka & Colin F. Camerer & Quang Nguyen, 2010. "Risk and Time Preferences: Linking Experimental and Household Survey Data from Vietnam," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(1), pages 557-71, March.
  43. Helga Fehr-Duda & Marc Schürer & Renate Schubert, 2006. "What Determines the Shape of the Probability Weighting Function?," CER-ETH Economics working paper series 06/54, CER-ETH - Center of Economic Research (CER-ETH) at ETH Zurich.
  44. Joseph Henrich & Richard McElreath, 2002. "Are peasants risk-averse decision makers?," Artefactual Field Experiments 00066, The Field Experiments Website.
  45. Laura Schechter, 2007. "Risk aversion and expected-utility theory: A calibration exercise," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 35(1), pages 67-76, August.
  46. George Wu & Richard Gonzalez, 1996. "Curvature of the Probability Weighting Function," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 42(12), pages 1676-1690, December.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:17708. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Joachim Winter)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.