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On The Origins of Risk-Taking

Author

Listed:
  • Sandra E. Black
  • Paul J. Devereux
  • Petter Lundborg
  • Kaveh Majlesi

Abstract

Risk-taking behavior is highly correlated between parents and their children; however, little is known about the extent to which these relationships are genetic or determined by environmental factors. We use data on stock market participation of Swedish adoptees and relate this to the investment behavior of both their biological and adoptive parents. We find that stock market participation of parents increases that of children by about 34% and that both pre-birth and post-birth factors are important. However, once we condition on having positive financial wealth, we find that nurture has a much stronger influence on risk-taking by children, and the evidence of a relationship between stock-holding of biological parents and their adoptive children becomes very weak. We find similar results when we study the share of financial wealth that is invested in stocks. This suggests that a substantial proportion of risk-attitudes and behavior is environmentally determined.

Suggested Citation

  • Sandra E. Black & Paul J. Devereux & Petter Lundborg & Kaveh Majlesi, 2015. "On The Origins of Risk-Taking," Working Papers 201517, School of Economics, University College Dublin.
  • Handle: RePEc:ucn:wpaper:201517
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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10197/7151
    File Function: First version, 2015
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Carling, Kenneth & Holmlund, Bertil & Vejsiu, Altin, 2001. "Do Benefit Cuts Boost Job Finding? Swedish Evidence from the 1990s," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 111(474), pages 766-790, October.
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    Cited by:

    1. Claus Thustrup Kreiner & Søren Leth-Petersen, & Louise C. Willerslev-Olsen, 2016. "Financial Trouble Across Generations:Evidence from the Universe of Personal Loans in Denmark," EPRU Working Paper Series 1601, Economic Policy Research Unit (EPRU), University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics.
    2. E. Black , Sandra & Devereux, Paul & Lundborg, Petter & Majlesi, Kaveh, 2015. "Poor Little Rich Kids? The Determinants of the Intergenerational Transmission of Wealth," Knut Wicksell Working Paper Series 2015/6, Lund University, Knut Wicksell Centre for Financial Studies.
    3. Maximiliane Hörl & Iris Kesternich & James P. Smith & Joachim Winter, 2016. "Early-life Circumstances Predict Measures of Trust among Adults: Evidence from Hunger Episodes in Post-War Germany," CESifo Working Paper Series 6093, CESifo Group Munich.
    4. Contreras Suarez, Diana & Cameron, Lisa A., 2016. "Conditional Cash Transfers: Do They Change Time Preferences and Educational Aspirations?," IZA Discussion Papers 10309, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    5. Sandra E. Black & Paul J. Devereux & Petter Lundborg & Kaveh Majlesi, 2015. "Poor Little Rich Kids? The Role of Nature versus Nurture in Wealth and Other Economic Outcomes and Behaviors," NBER Working Papers 21409, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Brown, Martin & Henchoz, Caroline & Spycher, Thomas, 2017. "Culture and Financial Literacy," Working Papers on Finance 1703, University of St. Gallen, School of Finance.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Nature versus nurture; Portfolio choice; Risk-taking;

    JEL classification:

    • G11 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Portfolio Choice; Investment Decisions
    • J01 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - General - - - Labor Economics: General

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