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What risks do people perceive in everyday life? A perspective gained from the experience sampling method (ESM)

The experiential sampling method (ESM) was used to collect data from 74 parttime students who described and assessed the risks involved in their current activities when interrupted at random moments by text messages. The major categories of perceived risk were short-term in nature and involved “loss of time or materials” related to work and “physical damage” (e.g., from transportation). Using techniques of multilevel analysis, we demonstrate effects of gender, emotional state, and types of risk on assessments of risk. Specifically, females do not differ from males in assessing the potential severity of risks but they see these as more likely to occur. Also, participants assessed risks to be lower when in more positive self-reported emotional states. We further demonstrate the potential of ESM by showing that risk assessments associated with current actions exceed those made retrospectively. We conclude by noting advantages and disadvantages of ESM for collecting data about risk perceptions.

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Paper provided by Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra in its series Economics Working Papers with number 1005.

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Date of creation: Jan 2007
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Handle: RePEc:upf:upfgen:1005
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.econ.upf.edu/

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  1. Robin Hogarth, 2003. "Is confidence in decisions related to feedback? Evidence-and lack of evidence-from random samples of real-world managerial behavior?," Economics Working Papers 655, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, revised Apr 2004.
  2. Klayman, Joshua & Soll, Jack B. & Gonzalez-Vallejo, Claudia & Barlas, Sema, 1999. "Overconfidence: It Depends on How, What, and Whom You Ask, , , , , , , , ," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 79(3), pages 216-247, September.
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