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Experimental evidence on the effect of incentives and domain in risk aversion and discounting tasks

Mentzakis, E. ORCID: 0000-0003-1761-209X & Sadeh, J. (2021). Experimental evidence on the effect of incentives and domain in risk aversion and discounting tasks. Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, 62(3), pp. 203-224. doi: 10.1007/s11166-021-09354-9


Environmental policy evaluation is often criticised for employing discount rates that have little grounding in research. Yet, experimental research aimed at eliciting realistic rates will inevitably require strong assumptions of external validity, while also placing large cognitive demands on subjects by processing tasks of increased unfamiliarity. We use a controlled lab experiment to test the impact of incentives on risk aversion and discounting tasks for monetary and environmental goods. We find that, on average, incentives have little effect on risk aversion or discounting tasks in either domain. Exploring heterogeneity by treatment and socio-demographics some significant patterns emerge. Further, contrary to past work, we find evidence of domain (monetary vs. environmental good) effects in both risk and discounting.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit
Publisher Keywords: Time preferences, risk aversion, hypothetical bias, experimental incentives, domain effects
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HB Economic Theory
H Social Sciences > HC Economic History and Conditions
H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor > HD61 Risk Management
Departments: School of Policy & Global Affairs > Economics
SWORD Depositor:
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