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Essays on Risk Attitudes in Sub-Saharan Africa
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Economics.
2019 (English)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)
Description
Abstract [en]

Essay I (submitted): Risk-taking is an important topic in Africa, as access to financial institutions and social security is scarce. Data on risk attitudes in Africa is limited and the available data collected might not be reliable. We investigate the determinants of risk attitudes in different domains and the reliability of survey data in a sub-Saharan African country, Burkina Faso, using a large representative panel survey of 31,677 individuals. Our results show that determinants such as individual’s sex and age are significantly associated with willingness to take risk. Reliability differs across determinants of risk taking and risk domains. Women, older individuals or those with high education have more reliable risk measures compared to men, younger individuals or people with low education. Risk taking in traffic has the highest test-retest reliability followed by willingness to take risk in general and financial matters.

Abstract [en]

Essay II (revise and resubmit): Previous research shows that transmission of attitudes in the family is gendered. However, there are limited findings about the existence of intergenerational transmission of risk attitudes and if it is gendered. By using quantitative data from Burkina Faso in 2014, this study analyzes three different self-reported risk questions. Our results shows a strong intergenerational transmission of attitudes from parents to children where positive assortative mating strengthens the parents’ transmission of attitudes to her child. Mother’s transmission is stronger on their daughters than sons. For fathers the pattern is reverse. Our findings also show that it exist heterogenity in intergenerational transmission within a male and female dominated risk domain. This gives support for the gender-specific role model hypothesis. Furthermore, we find support for transmission of attitudes from grandparents (and local environment) to their grandchildren (the child), but the strength and significance of this transmission decresease when controlling for parents attitudes.

Abstract [en]

Essay III (submitted): This study uses sibling correlation to investigate the importance of parental and household characteristics on three different risk domains collected in a nationally representative survey from Burkina Faso. Sibling correlations are between 0.51 and 0.83. The correlations are higher in the general risk domain compared to risk taking in financial matters and traffic. Moreover, the sibling correlation is higher for the younger generation of siblings than the older generation, and for sisters than brothers. We also explore which factors drive these correlations; parents’ risk attitudes help explain these correlations, whereas socioeconomic outcomes, family structure, parental health and residential zone have only a limited contribution. We also find that gender is important in explaining the variation in sibling correlations. Mother’s have a stronger contribution on daughters than their sons correlation, whereas father’s help to explain their sons correlation.

Abstract [en]

Essay IV (submitted): A popular uprising in 2014, led to a revolution overthrowing the sitting president of Burkina Faso. We investigate if individuals’ risk attitudes changed due to this revolution. Specifically, we investigate the impact of the revolution on risk attitudes, by gender, age and level of education. The analysis is based on a unique nationally representative panel Household Budget Survey, which allows us to track the changes in the risk attitudes of the same individuals before, during and after the revolution. Our results suggest that the impact of the revolution is short-term. Individuals become risk averse during the revolution but converge back to the pre-revolution risk attitudes, slightly increasing their risk taking, after the revolution is over. Women are more risk taking than the men after the revolution but are more risk averse during the revolution. In general, older individuals tend to have higher risk aversion than the younger individuals.  During the revolution, however, the individuals with higher level of education are less willing to take risk. 

Abstract [en]

Essay V (submitted): This study is an empirical investigation of how individual risk attitudes influence the agricultural productivity of men and women in a sub-Saharan African country, Burkina Faso. By analyzing a large representative panel survey of farmers from 2014 and 2015, the results indicate lower productivity on female-owned plots. Controlling for various socio-economic factors, the results show that as the female farmers’ increase risk taking, the productivity of female-owned plots goes down. These results are robust regarding alternative specifications. However, productivity differences vary by the type of crop cultivated, the agro-ecological zone, the share of female farmers in the region, the soil quality, type of seed used, and between consumption quantiles when comparing the poorest to the richest 20 per cent of the farm households. The results indicate that female farmers do not increase their plot yield by taking more risk. It is argued that agricultural policy interventions in Burkina Faso need to be gender sensitized when addressing issues related to credit constraints, improved inputs, and policies that support increase in productivity.   

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Department of Economics, Uppsala University , 2019. , p. 215
Series
Economic studies, ISSN 0283-7668 ; 178
Keywords [en]
Risk attitudes, determinants of risk taking, test-retest reliability, gender, inter and multigenerational transmission, socialization, family background, sibling correlations, exogenous shock, revolution, gender differences, agriculture, productivity, Burkina Faso
National Category
Economics
Research subject
Economics; Economics
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-374463ISBN: 978-91-506-2743-5 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-374463DiVA, id: diva2:1281137
Public defence
2019-03-08, Hörsal 2, Ekonomikum, Kyrkogårdsgatan 10 A, Uppsala, 13:15 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2019-02-14 Created: 2019-01-21 Last updated: 2019-02-14Bibliographically approved

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Sepahvand, Mohammad H.

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