Biological correlates of the Allais paradox

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Abstract:

We conducted a questionnaire study with student subjects to look for explicit correlations between selected biological characteristics of the subjects and manifestation of the Allais paradox in the pattern of their choices between sets of two pairs of risky prospects. We found that particular characteristics, such as gender, menstrual cycle, mother's age at delivery, parenthood, second- to fourth-digit ratio, perceived negative life events, and emotional state, can be related to the paradox. Women, particularly when not menstruating, are less susceptible to the paradox. Those born to not-too-young mothers are also less prone to the paradox. The same holds true for men who have fathered children and had been exposed to high levels of prenatal testosterone, people who had experienced many negative life events, and those who were anxious, excited, aroused, happy, active, or fresh at the time of the experiment. Further, left-handers and atheists may be less inclined to display the paradox.

Keywords: Allais paradox; C91; D81; biological characteristics; choice under risk; experimental economics

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/00036846.2011.607133

Affiliations: 1: Department of Economics,Federal University of Santa Catarina, Florianopolis 88049-970, Brazil 2: Department of Statistics,University of Brasilia, Brasilia, Brazil

Publication date: February 1, 2013

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