Our willingness to engage in risk peaks at 50

Washington: People are willing to engage in risk the most when they reach the age of 50 and men are slightly more willing to take risks as compared to women, a new study has claimed.

Ulrich Mayr and his team of economists from the University of Orgeon started their inquiry in the summer of 2010 with a group of Eugene high school students, who were studying with them in a UO summer program.

After receiving training on the nuances of conducting research, the students went to a Eugene shopping mall, set up a kiosk and recruited more than 800 adult volunteers.

The participants were given a choice to solve some simple math problems and receive a small cash reward for each correct answer or potentially earn a larger payoff if they won in competition with others.

The researchers found that the willingness to enter competition to achieve a bigger payoff continues to rise for all adults, men slightly more than women, until they get into their 50s.

The results were drawn from 543 of the adults in the study who were between the ages of 25 to 75 and the 281 men and 262 women were found to be relatively well balanced across age brackets of 25-34, 35-44, 45-54, 55-64 and 66-74.

“We expected to find the competitive risk-taking going down,” William Harbaugh, a UO economist, said.

“Seeing it going up to age 50 was surprising,” he added.


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