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Changing attitudes to risk at older ages: The role of health and other life events

James Banks, Elena Bassoli and Irene Mammi

Journal of Economic Psychology, 2020, vol. 79, issue C

Abstract: This paper investigates risk attitudes at older ages in 14 European countries. Older individuals report lower willingness to take risks in all countries. Using panel data we are able to show that this relationship between financial risk attitudes and age is not due to cohort effects or selective mortality. We also show that key mechanisms driving this change with age are health changes and other life events – in our preferred specification around half of the overall evolution of risk attitudes with age can be explained by health shocks, retirement, and widowhood or marital change that occur increasingly frequently as individuals age. These life-events are a particularly important explanation of the evolution of risk attitudes for women.

Keywords: Risk attitudes; Ageing; Health status; Life-events; SHARE (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: D81 D90 D91 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2020
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DOI: 10.1016/j.joep.2019.102208

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