Thursday, September 26, 2013

More risk-taking

Around 1989, the Times-Mirror corporation sponsored a survey called "The Pulse of Europe."  The United States wasn't included, but many of the questions were asked in various Los Angelest Times surveys taken at about the same time (some of the questions have also been asked in later Pew surveys).

One of the questions was "In general, how would you most prefer to be paid--on a fixed salary basis, so that you always know how much you will earn--or mostly on an incentive basis which will allow you to earn more if you accomplish a lot, but may result in less earnings if you don't accomplish enough."

                       Salary        Incentive     Not sure
US                    40%             53%              7%
France               68%            27%              5%
Britain                65%             32%              2%
Spain                 70%             25%              4%

There's a clear contrast between European and American preferences.  (The question was also asked in Italy, but I'm not sure if the data can be trusted.  Only 170 answers were recorded, which is a lot fewer than the documentation suggests there should be.  For what it's worth, they gave almost exactly a 50/50 split).


  1. As they say, there isn't even a word in French for 'entrepreneur.'

    Did the European surveys break down the responses by sex, and if so did the results show the same higher female risk-aversion on financial matters that US studies are said to show ?

    1. That's a good question. The individual-level data are available, and I'll look at sex differences in a future post.