Peer effects on risk behaviour: the importance of group identity

Francesca Gioia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

This paper investigates whether and to what extent group identity plays a role in peer effects on risk behaviour. We run a laboratory experiment in which different levels of group identity are induced through different matching protocols (random or based on individual painting preferences) and the possibility to interact with group members via an online chat in a group task. Risk behaviour is measured by using the Bomb Risk Elicitation Task and peer influence is introduced by giving subjects feedback regarding group members’ previous decisions. We find that subjects are affected by their peers when taking decisions and that group identity influences the magnitude of peer effects: painting preferences matching significantly reduces the heterogeneity in risk behaviour compared with random matching. On the other hand, introducing a group task has no significant effect on behaviour, possibly because interaction does not always contribute to enhancing group identity. Finally, relative riskiness within the group matters and individuals whose peers are riskier than they are take on average riskier decisions, even when controlling for regression to the mean.
Original languageEnglish
JournalExperimental Economics
Early online date18 Mar 2016
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 18 Mar 2016

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