Journal of Risk and Uncertainty

, Volume 47, Issue 1, pp 31–65 | Cite as

The “bomb” risk elicitation task

  • Paolo CrosettoEmail author
  • Antonio Filippin


This paper presents the Bomb Risk Elicitation Task (BRET), an intuitive procedure aimed at measuring risk attitudes. Subjects decide how many boxes to collect out of 100, one of which contains a bomb. Earnings increase linearly with the number of boxes accumulated but are zero if the bomb is also collected. The BRET requires minimal numeracy skills, avoids truncation of the data, allows the precise estimation of both risk aversion and risk seeking, and is not affected by the degree of loss aversion or by violations of the Reduction Axiom. We validate the BRET, test its robustness in a large-scale experiment, and compare it to three popular risk elicitation tasks. Choices react significantly only to increased stakes, and are sensible to wealth effects. Our experiment rationalizes the gender gap that often characterizes choices under uncertainty by means of a higher loss rather than risk aversion.


Risk aversion Loss aversion Elicitation method 

JEL Classifications

C81 C91 D81 



We are grateful to the Max Planck Institute of Economics (Jena) for financial and logistic support and to Denise Hornberger, Nadine Marmai, Florian Sturm, and Claudia Zellmann for their assistance in the lab. We would like to thank Alexia Gaudeul and Gerhard Riener for helpful suggestions and participants at the ESA 2012 Conferences in New York and Cologne and at the Nordic Conference on Behavioral and Experimental Economics (Bergen), participants of seminars at the MPI Jena and at the University of Stirling, as well as an anonymous referee, for their comments. All remaining errors are ours.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Max Planck Institute of EconomicsJenaGermany
  2. 2.Department of Economics,University of Milan,MilanoItaly
  3. 3.Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA)BonnGermany

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