How do risk attitudes affect pro-social behavior? Theory and experiment Academic Article


  • Theory and Decision


  • We explore how risk preferences affect pro-social behavior under uncertainty. We analyze a modified dictator game in which the dictator can, by reducing her own sure payoff, increase the odds that an unknown recipient wins a lottery. We first augment a standard social preferences model with reference-dependent risk attitudes and then test the model’s predictions for the dictator’s giving behavior using a laboratory experiment. Consistent with the predictions of the model, we find that the relationship between giving behavior and a giver’s loss aversion is mediated by the strength of the giver’s pro-social preferences. Among more (less) pro-social dictators, an increase in loss aversion increases (decreases) the likelihood that a dictator contributes to a recipient.

publication date

  • 2020-1-1


  • Aversion
  • Dependent Risks
  • Dictator
  • Dictator Game
  • Experiment
  • Experiments
  • Laboratory Experiments
  • Loss Aversion
  • Lottery
  • Prediction
  • Prediction Model
  • Prosocial Behavior
  • Recipient
  • Reference
  • Risk Attitude
  • Risk Preferences
  • Social Behavior
  • Social Preferences
  • Uncertainty
  • experiment
  • laboratory experiment
  • recipient
  • social behavior
  • uncertainty

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0040-5833