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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 & Pistaferri, Luigi & Schivardi, Fabiano, 2001. "Insurance Within the Firm," CEPR Discussion Papers 2793, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. Giucca, P. & Jappelli, T. & Terlizzese, D., 1992. "Earning Uncertainty and Precautionary Saving," Papers 161, Banca Italia - Servizio di Studi.
  3. Thomas Dohmen & Armin Falk & David Huffman & Uwe Sunde & Jürgen Schupp & Gert G. Wagner, 2005. "Individual Risk Attitudes: New Evidence from a Large, Representative, Experimentally-Validated Survey," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 511, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
  4. 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.
  5. Luigi Guiso & Monica Paiella, 2005. "The Role Of Risk Aversion In Predicting Individual Behavior," Temi di discussione (Economic working papers) 546, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
  6. Claudia Goldin & Lawrence Katz, 2003. "Mass Secondary Schooling and the State," NBER Working Papers 10075, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. 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.
  8. Philip Oreopoulos & Marianne E. Page, 2006. "The Intergenerational Effects of Compulsory Schooling," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 24(4), pages 729-760, October.
  9. Mark Kazarosian, 1993. "Precautionary Savings- A Panel Study," Boston College Working Papers in Economics 247, Boston College Department of Economics.
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