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The development of risk aversion and prudence in Chinese children and adolescents

Heinrich, Timo and Shachat, Jason (2018): The development of risk aversion and prudence in Chinese children and adolescents.

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Abstract

This study experimentally evaluates the risk preferences of children and adolescents living in an urban Chinese environment. We use a simple binary choice task that tests risk aversion as well as prudence. This is the first test for prudence in children and adolescents. Our results reveal that subjects from grades 5 to 11 (10 to 17 years) make mostly risk averse and prudent choices. With respect to risk aversion behavior of 3rd graders (8 to 9 years) does not differ statistically from risk neutrality. We also find 3rd graders to make mostly prudent choices. We also find evidence for a transmission of preferences: risk aversion is significantly correlated between children and their parents. Also, prudence is significantly correlated between girls (but not boys) and their parents.

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