Library Header Image
LSE Research Online LSE Library Services

Heterogeneity in risk-taking during the COVID-19 pandemic: evidence from the UK lockdown

Guenther, Benno, Galizzi, Matteo M. and Sanders, Jet (2021) Heterogeneity in risk-taking during the COVID-19 pandemic: evidence from the UK lockdown. Frontiers in Psychology, 12. ISSN 1664-1078

[img] Text (Galizzi__heterogeneity-in-risk-taking--published) - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution.

Download (626kB)

Identification Number: 10.3389/fpsyg.2021.643653


In two pre-registered online studies during the COVID-19 pandemic and the early 2020 lockdown (one of which with a UK representative sample) we elicit risk-tolerance for 1,254 UK residents using four of the most widely applied risk-taking tasks in behavioral economics and psychology. Specifically, participants completed the incentive-compatible Balloon Analog Risk Task (BART) and the Binswanger-Eckel-Grossman (BEG) multiple lotteries task, as well as the Domain-Specific Risk-Taking Task (DOSPERT) and the self-reported questions for risk-taking used in the German Socio-economic Panel (SOEP) study. In addition, participants in the UK representative sample answered a range of questions about COVID-19-related risky behaviors selected from the UCL COVID-19 Social Survey and the ICL-YouGov survey on COVID-19 behaviors. Consistently with pre-COVID-19 times, we find that risk tolerance during the UK lockdown (i) was higher in men than in women and (ii) decreased with age. Undocumented in pre-COVID-19 times, we find some evidence for healthier participants displaying significantly higher risk-tolerance for self-reported risk measures. We find no systematic nor robust patterns of association between the COVID-19 risky behaviors and the four risk-taking tasks in our study. Moreover, we find no evidence in support of the so-called “risk compensation” hypothesis. If anything, it appears that participants who took greater risk in real-life COVID-19-relevant risky behaviors (e.g., isolating or taking precautions) also exhibited higher risk-tolerance in our experimental and self-reported risk-taking measures.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2021 The Authors
Divisions: Psychological and Behavioural Science
Subjects: R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine > RA0421 Public health. Hygiene. Preventive Medicine
H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare. Criminology
Date Deposited: 12 Apr 2021 15:51
Last Modified: 20 Sep 2021 02:20

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item


Downloads per month over past year

View more statistics