Peer effects in economic attitudes
|Speaker:||Tyler Shumway, University of Michigan|
|Date:||Friday 9 December 2011|
|Location:||Room 0.28 Streatham Court|
Recent genetic evidence shows that fundamental economic attitudes, such as risk aversion and altruism, are largely determined by unspecified environmental factors. Using random assignment of MBA students to peer groups and predetermined survey responses of economic attitudes, we provide causal evidence that peer influence is one such environmental factor. We find positive peer effects in risk aversion, consistent with conformity, negative peer effects in honesty and altruism, consistent with self-interest, and no peer effects in trust. Overall, we show that fundamental attitudes, traditionally assumed to be immutable, are, in fact, heavily influenced by social interactions, even in adults.