Unité mixte de recherche 7235

Hunger Games II: Does Hunger Affect Risk Preferences?

Intervenant : Antoine Nebout (ALISS UR1303, INRA, University Paris-Saclay)

co-écrit avec Lydia Ashton (University of Wisconsin-Madison. Wisconsin Institute for Discovery) et Emmanuel Kemel (HEC Business School Paris & GREGHEC, CNRS)

Classic economic theory focuses on static and stable preferences. However, there is growing evidence that cognitive, emotional and visceral states (e.g. stress, hunger) can mediate behavioral biases and shape preferences (DellaVigna, 2009). In particular, Symmonds & al. (2010) and Levy & al. (2013) provide evidence that risk attitudes fluctuate with metabolic states. In this paper, we follow this stream of research and propose an experimental design with a specific hunger manipulation mechanism and an original risk attitude elicitation tool that allows parametric estimation of the components of Prospect Theory (PT) by using a convex budget line (CBL) allocation methodology (Choi & al., 2007).

Participants (N=107, Xlab Berkeley) were required to fast for at least three hours before the experiment and completed a high-protein shake tasting activity before/after (randomly assigned) the risk attitude elicitation questionnaire. Our results suggest a limited impact of hunger on the utility function and loss aversion parameters. However, we find that hungry (fasting) participants display significantly more risk aversion (curvature of the utility function) and probability distortion (inverse S shape of the probability weighting function) than the satiated participants. These results are consistent with and extend the existing empirical evidence on satiation and risk attitudes and feed the debate on the impact of hunger on economic decision


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