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Off the Charts: Massive Unexplained Heterogeneity in a Global Study of Ambiguity Attitudes

Journal article
Authors O. l'Haridon
F. M. Vieider
D. Aycinena
A. Bandur
A. Belianin
L. Cingl
A. Kothiyal
Peter Martinsson
Published in Review of Economics and Statistics
Volume 100
Issue 4
Pages 664-677
ISSN 0034-6535
Publication year 2018
Published at Department of Economics
Pages 664-677
Language en
Keywords comparative ignorance, gender-differences, risk, uncertainty, behavior, aversion, losses, gains, preferences, decisions
Subject categories Economics and Business


Ambiguity attitudes have been prominently used in economic models, but we still know little about their demographic correlates or their generalizability beyond the West. We analyze the ambiguity attitudes of almost 3,000 students across thirty countries. For gains, we find ambiguity aversion everywhere, while ambiguity aversion is much weaker for losses. Ambiguity attitudes change systematically with probabilities for both gains and losses. Much of the between-country variation can be explained through a few macroeconomic characteristics. In contrast, we find massive unexplained variation at the individual level. We also find much unexplained heterogeneity in individual responses to different decision tasks.

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