Does Boredom Affect Risk Preferences?

31 Pages Posted: 24 Sep 2021

Date Written: September 22, 2021


Previous literature and conventional wisdom have led researchers to believe that boredom increases economic risk taking, but the evidence in support of this conclusion is limited and has important shortcomings. In four experiments (including more than 1,300 participants), we systematically studied the effects of boredom on economic risk preferences. Across different risk elicitation tasks, boredom inductions, incentive schemes, subject pools, and using both reduced form and structural analyses, we consistently failed to find an effect of boredom on risky decisions. Using Bayesian techniques, we find substantial evidence in each of our four experiments in support of a zero effect of boredom on economic risk taking. Our results question an important established belief and have substantial implications for economic experiments.

Keywords: Risk preferences, boredom, emotions, experiments.

JEL Classification: C91, D91, D81.

Suggested Citation

Pirla, Sergio and Navarro‐Martinez, Daniel, Does Boredom Affect Risk Preferences? (September 22, 2021). Available at SSRN: or

Sergio Pirla (Contact Author)

Aarhus University ( email )


Daniel Navarro‐Martinez

Universitat Pompeu Fabra ( email )

Ramon Trias Fargas, 25-27
Barcelona, E-08005

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