WP 2014-04 Risk Attitudes, Sample Selection and Attrition in a Longitudinal Field Experiment
ABSTRACT: Longitudinal experiments allow one to evaluate the temporal stability of latent preferences, but raise concerns about sample selection and attrition that may confound inferences about temporal stability. We evaluate the hypothesis of temporal stability in risk preferences using a remarkable data set that combines socio-demographic information from the Danish Civil Registry with information on risk attitudes from a longitudinal field experiment. Our experimental design builds in explicit randomization on the incentives for participation. The results show that the use of different participation incentives can affect sample response rates and help one identify the effects of selection. Correcting for endogenous sample selection and panel attrition changes inferences about risk preferences in an economically and statistically significant manner. We draw mixed conclusions on temporal stability of risk preferences that depend on which aspect of temporal stability one is interested in.