Risk taking across life span: The effects of hardship
With increasing age, the propensity to take physical, social, legal or financial risks decreases
Researchers from the University of Basel and the Max Planck Institute for Human Development in Berlin were able to show how factors such as poverty and income equality play a role. Their study based on data from 77 countries has been published in the journal Psychological Science.
In most countries, the willingness to take risks in an everyday context decreases with age, including Germany, Russia and the U.S. In these countries, men on average are also much more disposed to take risks than women. But in other countries, such as Nigeria, Mali and Pakistan, risk behavior is more stable across age and more similar between the sexes.
Poverty supports risk taking
After determining that the propensity to take risks does not decrease everywhere equally with age, the researchers compared the current standards of living in these countries, looking at indicators of hardship, for instance, economic and social poverty, homicide rate, income per capita and income inequality. The results indicate a clear connection between the country's standards of living and its citizens' willingness to take risks. Whether people are willing to take risks in old age depends on external circumstances.
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Tags: risk poverty income equality age hardship