Individual characteristics associated with risk and time preferences - A multi-country representative survey

Thomas Meissner, Xavier Gassmann, Corinne Faure, Joachim Schleich

Research output: Working paper / PreprintWorking paper


This paper analyzes how people’s individual characteristics are associated with economic preferences, in particular risk aversion, loss aversion, time discounting, and present bias. To this end, we conduct a large-scale demographically representative survey across eight EU countries. We elicit preferences using incentivized multiple price lists and include a rich set of individual characteristics. Preferences and their covariates are estimated jointly to avoid bias from neglecting structural dependencies of
different preference parameters. We find that preferences are linked to a variety of individual characteristics such as age, gender, and income as well as some personal values. We also report robust evidence pertaining to the relationship between cognitive ability and preferences. Incentivization, stake
size, and the order of presentation of binary choices matter, underlining the importance of controlling for these factors when eliciting economic preferences.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages31
Publication statusPublished - 2020

JEL classifications

  • d01 - Microeconomic Behavior: Underlying Principles
  • d03 - Behavioral Economics: Underlying Principles
  • c90 - Design of Experiments: General


  • preference elicitation
  • risk preferences
  • time preferences
  • present bias
  • loss aversion

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