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Have your cake and eat it too: real effort and risk aversion in schoolchildren

Author

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  • Della Giusta, Marina
  • Di Girolamo, Amalia

Abstract

There is a large body of evidence documenting gender differences in preferences and their effects on a range of behaviours (including health and risky behaviours) and choices (including education, labour market, savings, marriage, and fertility). A key issue in order to mitigate some of the undesirable effects of these differences (the tendency for boys to engage in more risky behaviours or for girls to avoid choices that might instead benefit them) is establishing how soon such differences arise. Gender differences in competitiveness and risk aversion have been widely documented both in the lab and the field (Falk et al, 2015), and more recently adapting experiments normally performed with adults to children (Samak, 2013; Harbaugh et al., 2002). We advance this literature with a study of primary school children which consists of an innovative two-stage task game addressing both effort and risk: in the first stage a real effort task allows children to accumulate points playing a video game, and in the second they play a lottery game in which probabilities are presented visually. The two-stage task game is designed in order to avoid both the valuation and the probability problems that children normally face in such tasks. Our findings confirm the existence of gender differences in risk aversion once controlling for performance in a gender neutral task in schoolchildren, and contribute a visual way of using lotteries with children that yields results consistent with rational behaviour

Suggested Citation

  • Della Giusta, Marina & Di Girolamo, Amalia, 2018. "Have your cake and eat it too: real effort and risk aversion in schoolchildren," MPRA Paper 89528, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:89528
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    File URL: https://mpra.ub.uni-muenchen.de/89528/1/MPRA_paper_89528.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Gender; Risk Aversion; Child Preferences; Artefactual Field Experiment;

    JEL classification:

    • C79 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Other
    • C90 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - General
    • D81 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Criteria for Decision-Making under Risk and Uncertainty
    • J70 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor Discrimination - - - General

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