IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this paper

Financial Risk Aversion and Personal Life History

  • Alessandro Bucciol


    (Department of Economics (University of Verona))

  • Luca Zarri


    (Department of Economics (University of Verona))

Though risk attitude is central to economics and finance, relatively little is known about how it is formed and how it changes over time. Based on US data from a dedicated psycho-social module on lifestyle of the 2010 Health and Retirement Study (HRS), we provide new evidence on the correlation between financial risk attitude and life-history negative events out of an individual’s control. Using observed portfolio decisions to proxy for risk aversion, we find correlation with two of such events: having been in a natural disaster and (especially) the loss of a child. These effects survive after controlling for classic socio-demographic determinants of risk aversion.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
File Function: First version
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by University of Verona, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 05/2013.

in new window

Length: 25
Date of creation: Feb 2013
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ver:wpaper:05/2013
Contact details of provider: Postal:
Via Cantarane, 24 - I-37129 Verona

Phone: +39 045 802 8095
Fax: +39 045 802 8529
Web page:

More information through EDIRC

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Thomas Dohmen & Armin Falk & David Huffman & Uwe Sunde, 2008. "The Intergenerational Transmission of Risk and Trust Attitudes," CESifo Working Paper Series 2307, CESifo Group Munich.
  2. Alessie, Rob & Stefan Hochguertel & Arthur van Soest, 2002. "Ownership of Stocks and Mutual Funds: A Panel Data Analysis," Royal Economic Society Annual Conference 2002 3, Royal Economic Society.
  3. Giuliano, Paola & Spilimbergo, Antonio, 2009. "Growing Up in a Recession: Beliefs and the Macroeconomy," IZA Discussion Papers 4365, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  4. Cohn, Richard A, et al, 1975. "Individual Investor Risk Aversion and Investment Portfolio Composition," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 30(2), pages 605-20, May.
  5. Guiso, Luigi & Sapienza, Paola & Zingales, Luigi, 2000. "The Role of Social Capital In Financial Development," CEPR Discussion Papers 2383, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  6. Guido Tabellini, 2006. "Culture and institutions: economic development in the regions of Europe," Levine's Working Paper Archive 321307000000000241, David K. Levine.
  7. Camelia Kuhnen & Brian Knutson, 2005. "The Neural Basis of Financial Risk Taking," Experimental 0509001, EconWPA.
  8. Lisa Cameron & Manisha Shah, 2013. "Risk-Taking Behavior in the Wake of Natural Disasters," NBER Working Papers 19534, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Eckel, Catherine C. & El-Gamal, Mahmoud A. & Wilson, Rick K., 2009. "Risk loving after the storm: A Bayesian-Network study of Hurricane Katrina evacuees," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 69(2), pages 110-124, February.
  10. Alberto Alesina & Eliana La Ferrara, 2000. "Participation in Heterogeneous Communities," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 115(3), pages 847-904.
  11. Daniel Benjamin & James Choi & A. Strickland, 2008. "Social Identity and Preferences," Yale School of Management Working Papers amz2634, Yale School of Management.
  12. David A. Jaeger & Holger Bonin & Thomas Dohmen & Armin Falk & David Huffman & Uwe Sunde, 2007. "Direct Evidence on Risk Attitudes and Migration," Working Papers 50, Department of Economics, College of William and Mary.
  13. Kuhnen, Camelia & Knutson, Brian, 2008. "The Influence of Affect on Beliefs, Preferences and Financial Decisions," MPRA Paper 10410, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  14. Robert B. Barsky & F. Thomas Juster & Miles S. Kimball & Matthew D. Shapiro, 1997. "Preference Parameters and Behavioral Heterogeneity: An Experimental Approach in the Health and Retirement Study," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 112(2), pages 537-579.
  15. David Cesarini & Magnus Johannesson & Paul Lichtenstein & Örjan Sandewall & Björn Wallace, 2010. "Genetic Variation in Financial Decision-Making," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 65(5), pages 1725-1754, October.
  16. Harrison Hong & Jeffrey D. Kubik & Jeremy C. Stein, 2001. "Social Interaction and Stock-Market Participation," NBER Working Papers 8358, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. Knutson, Brian & Wimmer, G. Elliott & Kuhnen, Camelia & Winkielman, Piotr, 2008. "Nucleus accumbens activation mediates the influence of reward cues on financial risk-taking," MPRA Paper 8013, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  18. Alex Edmans & Diego García & Øyvind Norli, 2007. "Sports Sentiment and Stock Returns," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 62(4), pages 1967-1998, 08.
  19. Rafael Di Tella & Sebastian Galiant & Ernesto Schargrodsky, 2007. "The Formation of Beliefs: Evidence from the Allocation of Land Titles to Squatters," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 122(1), pages 209-241.
  20. J. Y. Campbell & P. Sodini & Laurent-Emmanuel Calvet, 2009. "Fight or Flight ? Portfolio Rebalancing by Individual Investors," Post-Print hal-00495693, HAL.
  21. Luigi Guiso & Monica Paiella, 2008. "Risk Aversion, Wealth, and Background Risk," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 6(6), pages 1109-1150, December.
  22. Luigi Guiso & Paola Sapienza & Luigi Zingales, 2005. "Trusting the Stock Market," NBER Working Papers 11648, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  23. Ulrike Malmendier & Geoffrey Tate & Jon Yan, 2011. "Overconfidence and Early‐Life Experiences: The Effect of Managerial Traits on Corporate Financial Policies," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 66(5), pages 1687-1733, October.
  24. Michael Callen & Mohammad Isaqzadeh & James D. Long & Charles Sprenger, 2014. "Violence and Risk Preference: Experimental Evidence from Afghanistan," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 104(1), pages 123-48, January.
  25. Ulrike Malmendier & Stefan Nagel, 2011. "Depression Babies: Do Macroeconomic Experiences Affect Risk Taking?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 126(1), pages 373-416.
  26. Maarten J. Voors & Eleonora E. M. Nillesen & Philip Verwimp & Erwin H. Bulte & Robert Lensink & Daan P. Van Soest, 2012. "Violent Conflict and Behavior: A Field Experiment in Burundi," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 102(2), pages 941-64, April.
  27. Dohmen, Thomas J. & Falk, Armin & Huffman, David & Sunde, Uwe & Schupp, Jürgen & Wagner, Gert G., 2009. "Individual risk attitudes: Measurement, determinants and behavioral consequences," Munich Reprints in Economics 20049, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  28. Alessandro Bucciol & Raffaele Miniaci, 2010. "Househould portfolios and implicit risk preferences," Working Papers 1006, University of Brescia, Department of Economics.
  29. Paola Sapienza & Luigi Zingales & Luigi Guiso, 2006. "Does Culture Affect Economic Outcomes?," NBER Working Papers 11999, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  30. Alberto Alesina & Eliana La Ferrara, . "Participation in Heterogeneous Communities," Working Papers 151, IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University.
  31. La Ferrara, Eliana & Alesina, Alberto, 2000. "Participation in Heterogeneous Communities," Scholarly Articles 4551796, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  32. Kaplanski, Guy & Levy, Haim, 2010. "Sentiment and stock prices: The case of aviation disasters," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(2), pages 174-201, February.
  33. Friend, Irwin & Blume, Marshall E, 1975. "The Demand for Risky Assets," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 65(5), pages 900-922, December.
  34. Mark Kamstra & Lisa Kramer & Maurice D. Levi, 2002. "Winter blues: a SAD stock market cycle," FRB Atlanta Working Paper 2002-13, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.
  35. Stephen Knack & Philip Keefer, 1997. "Does Social Capital Have an Economic Payoff? A Cross-Country Investigation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 112(4), pages 1251-1288.
  36. Alessandro Bucciol & Raffaele Miniaci, 2012. "Financial Risk Aversion, Economic Crises and Past Risk Perception," Working Papers 28/2012, University of Verona, Department of Economics.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:ver:wpaper:05/2013. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Michael Reiter)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.