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Childhood Determinants of Risk Aversion: The Long Shadow of Compulsory Education

We study the determinants of individual attitudes towards risk and,in particular,why some individuals exhibit extremely high risk aversion. Using data from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics we find that policy induced increases in high school graduation rates lead to significantly fewer individuals being highly risk averse in the next generation. Other significant determinants of risk aversion are age, sex, and parents' risk aversion. We verify that risk aversion matters for economic behavior in that it predicts individuals' volatility of income.

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Paper provided by University of Alberta, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 2011-2.

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Length: 51 pages
Date of creation: 01 Jan 2011
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ris:albaec:2011_002
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  1. Guiso, Luigi & Jappelli, Tullio & Terlizzese, Daniele, 1992. "Earnings Uncertainty and Precautionary Saving," CEPR Discussion Papers 699, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. Ann Huff Stevens & Marianne Page & Philip Oreopoulos, 2005. "The Intergenerational Effects of Compulsory Schooling," Working Papers 519, University of California, Davis, Department of Economics.
  3. Mark Kazarosian, 1997. "Precautionary Savings-A Panel Study," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 79(2), pages 241-247, May.
  4. Armin Falk & David Huffman & Gert Wagner & Jurgen Schupp & Thomas Dohmen & Uwe Sunde, 2005. "Individual risk attitudes: New evidence from a large, representative, experimentally-validated survey," Framed Field Experiments 00140, The Field Experiments Website.
  5. Abowd, John M & Card, David, 1989. "On the Covariance Structure of Earnings and Hours Changes," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 57(2), pages 411-45, March.
  6. Luigi Guiso & Luigi Pistaferri & Fabiano Schivardi, 2002. "Insurance within the firm," 10th International Conference on Panel Data, Berlin, July 5-6, 2002 C3-1, International Conferences on Panel Data.
  7. Daniel J. Benjamin & Sebastian A. Brown & Jesse M. Shapiro, 2006. "Who is “Behavioral”? Cognitive Ability and Anomalous Preferences," Levine's Working Paper Archive 122247000000001334, David K. Levine.
  8. Monica Paiella & Luigi Guiso, 2004. "The Role of Risk Aversion in Predicting Individual Behaviour," Econometric Society 2004 Latin American Meetings 222, Econometric Society.
  9. Claudia Goldin & Lawrence Katz, 2003. "Mass Secondary Schooling and the State," NBER Working Papers 10075, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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