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Does self-control depletion affect risk attitudes?

Gerhardt, Holger and Schildberg-Hörisch, Hannah and Willrodt, Jana (2017): Does self-control depletion affect risk attitudes? Forthcoming in: European Economic Review (19 September 2017)

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Abstract

A core prediction of recent “dual-self” models is that risk attitudes depend on self-control. While these models have received a lot of attention, empirical evidence regarding their predictions is lacking. We derive hypotheses from three prominent models for choices between risky monetary payoffs under regular and reduced self-control. We test the hypotheses in a lab experiment, using a well-established ego depletion task to reduce self-control, and measuring risk attitudes via finely graduated choice lists. Manipulation checks document the effectiveness of the depletion task. We find no systematic evidence in favor of the theoretical predictions. In particular, depletion does not increase risk aversion.

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