A Domain-Specific Risk-Attitude Scale: Measuring Risk Perceptions and Risk Behaviors

Journal of Behavioral Decision Making, Vol. 15, pp. 263-290

28 Pages Posted: 18 Jun 2009  

Elke U. Weber

Columbia Business School - Management & Psychology

Ann-Renee Blais

Defense Research and Development Canada

Nancy E. Betz

Ohio State University (OSU)

Date Written: 2002

Abstract

We present a psychometric scale that assesses risk taking in five content domains: financial decisions (separately for investing versus gambling), health/safety, recreational, ethical, and social decisions. Respondents rate the likelihood that they would engage in domain-specific risky activities (Part I). An optional Part II assesses respondents’ perceptions of the magnitude of the risks and expected benefits of the activities judged in Part I. The scale’s construct validity and consistency is evaluated for a sample of American undergraduate students. As expected, respondents’ degree of risk taking was highly domain-specific, i.e. not consistently risk-averse or consistently risk-seeking across all content domains. Women appeared to be more risk-averse in all domains except social risk. A regression of risk taking (likelihood of engaging in the risky activity) on expected benefits and perceived risks suggests that gender and content domain differences in apparent risk taking are associated with differences in the perception of the activities’ benefits and risk, rather than with differences in attitude towards perceived risk.

Keywords: risk taking, risk perception, risk attitude, gender differences, content specificity

Suggested Citation

Weber, Elke U. and Blais, Ann-Renee and Betz, Nancy E., A Domain-Specific Risk-Attitude Scale: Measuring Risk Perceptions and Risk Behaviors (2002). Journal of Behavioral Decision Making, Vol. 15, pp. 263-290. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1422152

Elke U. Weber (Contact Author)

Columbia Business School - Management & Psychology ( email )

3022 Broadway
New York, NY 10027
United States

Ann-Renee Blais

Defense Research and Development Canada ( email )

1133 Sheppard Avenue, West
P.O. Box 2000
Toronto
Canada
416-635-2000 Ext. 3082 (Phone)

Nancy E. Betz

Ohio State University (OSU) ( email )

Blankenship Hall-2010
901 Woody Hayes Drive
Columbus, OH OH 43210
United States

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