Abstract

http://ssrn.com/abstract=1846390
 
 

Citations (3)



 


 



Happiness as a Driver of Risk-Avoiding Behavior


Robert J. B. Goudie


University of Warwick - Department of Statistics

Sach N. Mukherjee Sr.


University of Warwick - Department of Statistics

Jan-Emmanuel De Neve


University College London; London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE)

Andrew J. Oswald


University of Warwick - Department of Economics; Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA)

Stephen Wu


Hamilton College - Economics Department

May 19, 2011

CESifo Working Paper Series No. 3451

Abstract:     
Understanding the reasons why individuals take risks, particularly unnecessary risks, remains an important question in economics. We provide the first evidence of a powerful connection between happiness and risk-avoidance. Using data on 300,000 Americans, we demonstrate that happier individuals wear seatbelts more frequently. This result is obtained with five different methodological approaches, including Bayesian model-selection and an instrumented analysis based on unhappiness through widowhood. Independent longitudinal data corroborate the finding, showing that happiness is predictive of future motor vehicle accidents. Our results are consistent with a rational-choice explanation: happy people value life and thus act to preserve it.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 40

Keywords: risk preferences, seatbelt usage, vehicle accidents, subjective well-being, happiness

JEL Classification: C300, D600, D810

working papers series


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Date posted: May 23, 2011  

Suggested Citation

Goudie, Robert J. B. and Mukherjee, Sach N. and De Neve, Jan-Emmanuel and Oswald, Andrew J. and Wu, Stephen, Happiness as a Driver of Risk-Avoiding Behavior (May 19, 2011). CESifo Working Paper Series No. 3451. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1846390

Contact Information

Robert J. B. Goudie
University of Warwick - Department of Statistics ( email )
Coventry CV4 7AL
United Kingdom
Sach N. Mukherjee Sr.
University of Warwick - Department of Statistics ( email )
Coventry CV4 7AL
United Kingdom
Jan-Emmanuel De Neve (Contact Author)
University College London ( email )
29/30 Tavistock Square
London, WC1H 9QU
United Kingdom
London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE) ( email )
Houghton Street
London, WC2A 2AE
United Kingdom
HOME PAGE: http://personal.lse.ac.uk/deneve/
Andrew J. Oswald
University of Warwick - Department of Economics ( email )
Coventry CV4 7AL
United Kingdom
523510 (Phone)
Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA)
Schaumburg-Lippe-Str. 7 / 9
Bonn, D-53072
Germany
Stephen Wu
Hamilton College - Economics Department ( email )
198 College Hill Road
Clinton, NY 13323
United States
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