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A structural estimation of French farmers’ risk preferences: an artefactual field experiment


  • Douadia Bougherara
  • Xavier Gassmann
  • Laurent Piet


We designed an artefactual field experiment involving real payments to elicit French farmers’ risk preferences. We test for two descriptions of farmers’ behaviour: expected utility and cumulative prospect theory and for preference stability across context (price risk and yield risk). We use multiple price lists where farmers make series of choices between two lotteries with varying probabilities and outcomes in the gain and loss domains. We estimate parameters describing farmers’ risk preferences derived from structural models. We find farmers are slightly risk averse in the expected utility framework. In the cumulative prospect theory frame, we find farmers display either loss aversion or probability weighting, tending to overweight small probabilities and to underweight high probabilities. We also estimate the reference point and find it not significantly different from zero. Cumulative prospect theory is a better description of farmers’ risk attitudes. We find risk preferences vary across context.

Suggested Citation

  • Douadia Bougherara & Xavier Gassmann & Laurent Piet, 2011. "A structural estimation of French farmers’ risk preferences: an artefactual field experiment," Working Papers SMART - LERECO 11-06, INRA UMR SMART-LERECO.
  • Handle: RePEc:rae:wpaper:201106

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Atanu Saha & C. Richard Shumway & Hovav Talpaz, 1994. "Joint Estimation of Risk Preference Structure and Technology Using Expo-Power Utility," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 76(2), pages 173-184.
    2. Rulon D. Pope, 2003. "Agricultural Risk Analysis: Adequacy of Models, Data, and Issues," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 85(5), pages 1249-1256.
    3. Jose Apesteguia & Miguel Ballester, 2009. "A theory of reference-dependent behavior," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 40(3), pages 427-455, September.
    4. Arnaud Reynaud & Stéphane Couture, 2012. "Stability of risk preference measures: results from a field experiment on French farmers," Theory and Decision, Springer, vol. 73(2), pages 203-221, August.
    5. Bocqueho, Geraldine & Jacquet, Florence & Reynaud, Arnaud, 2011. "Expected Utility or Prospect Theory Maximizers? Results from a Structural Model based on Field-experiment Data," 2011 International Congress, August 30-September 2, 2011, Zurich, Switzerland 114257, European Association of Agricultural Economists.
    6. Andersen, Steffen & Harrison, Glenn W. & Lau, Morten Igel & Rutström, Elisabet E., 2010. "Behavioral econometrics for psychologists," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 31(4), pages 553-576, August.
    7. Levon Barseghyan & Jeffrey Prince & Joshua C. Teitelbaum, 2011. "Are Risk Preferences Stable across Contexts? Evidence from Insurance Data," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(2), pages 591-631, April.
    8. 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 557-571, March.
    9. 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.
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    Cited by:

    1. Bougherara, Douadia & Piet, Laurent, 2014. "The Impact of Farmers’ Risk Preferences on the Design of an Individual Yield Crop Insurance," 2014 International Congress, August 26-29, 2014, Ljubljana, Slovenia 183082, European Association of Agricultural Economists.

    More about this item


    risk attitudes; field experiment; farmer;

    JEL classification:

    • C93 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Field Experiments
    • D81 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Criteria for Decision-Making under Risk and Uncertainty
    • Q10 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - General

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