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Risk attitudes, development, and growth: Macroeconomic evidence from experiments in 30 countries

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  • Vieider, Ferdinand M.
  • Chmura, Thorsten
  • Martinsson, Peter

Abstract

We measure risk attitudes in 30 different countries in a controlled, incentivized experiment (N = 3025). At the macroeconomic level, we find a strong and highly significant negative correlation between the risk tolerance of a country and income per capita. This gives rise to a paradox, seen that risk tolerance has been found to be positively associated with personal income within countries. We show that this paradox can be explained by unified growth theory. These results are consistent with the prediction that risk attitudes act as a transmission mechanism for growth by encouraging entrepreneurship. Furthermore, our study shows that risk attitudes vary considerably between countries and that for typical experimental stakes, risk seeking or neutrality is just as frequent as risk aversion.

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  • Vieider, Ferdinand M. & Chmura, Thorsten & Martinsson, Peter, 2012. "Risk attitudes, development, and growth: Macroeconomic evidence from experiments in 30 countries," Discussion Papers, WZB Junior Research Group Risk and Development SP II 2012-401, WZB Berlin Social Science Center.
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:wzbrad:spii2012401
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    4. Ferdinand Vieider & Thorsten Chmura & Tyler Fisher & Takao Kusakawa & Peter Martinsson & Frauke Mattison Thompson & Adewara Sunday, 2015. "Within- versus between-country differences in risk attitudes: implications for cultural comparisons," Theory and Decision, Springer, vol. 78(2), pages 209-218, February.
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    6. Vieider, Ferdinand M. & Truong, Nghi & Martinsson, Peter & Pham Khanh Nam & Martinsson, Peter, 2013. "Risk preferences and development revisited: A field experiment in Vietnam," Discussion Papers, WZB Junior Research Group Risk and Development SP II 2013-403, WZB Berlin Social Science Center.
    7. Marc Oliver Rieger & Mei Wang & Thorsten Hens, 2015. "Risk Preferences Around the World," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 61(3), pages 637-648, March.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    risk attitudes; cultural comparison; economic growth; comparative development;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D01 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Microeconomic Behavior: Underlying Principles
    • D03 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Behavioral Microeconomics: Underlying Principles
    • D81 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Criteria for Decision-Making under Risk and Uncertainty
    • E02 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - General - - - Institutions and the Macroeconomy
    • O10 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - General
    • O11 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Macroeconomic Analyses of Economic Development
    • O12 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Microeconomic Analyses of Economic Development

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