Sibling correlation in risk attitudes: evidence from Burkina Faso


This study uses sibling correlation to provide novel descriptive evidence of parental and household characteristics on three different risk domains collected in a nationally representative survey from Burkina Faso. The sibling correlations are between 0.51 and 0.83. The correlations are higher in the general risk domain compared to risk taking in financial matters and traffic. Moreover, the sibling correlation is higher for sisters than brothers. We also explore which factors might drive these correlations; parents’ risk attitudes appears to play a role in explaining these correlations, whereas socioeconomic outcomes, family structure, parental health and residential zone seems to have only a limited contribution. We also find that gender seems to be important in explaining the variation in sibling correlations. Mother’s appear to have a stronger contribution on daughters than their sons correlation, whereas father’s help to explain their sons correlation.


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We have benefited greatly from comments on previous versions by Ranjula Bali Swain, Anders Björklund, Matthew J. Lindquist, Björn Öckert, Mathias von Buxhoeveden and discussions with Chuan-Zhong Li, Emma von Essen, Ola Andersson, Adrian Adermon, Daniel Spiro and the seminar participants at the Uppsala University Department of Economics in December 2017. We gratefully acknowledge the National Institute of Statistics and Demographics (INSD, Institut National de la Statistique et de la Démographie) in Burkina Faso for collecting the data used in this study, and the anonymous referees for their constructive comments. All remaining errors are our own.


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Sepahvand, M.H., Shahbazian, R. Sibling correlation in risk attitudes: evidence from Burkina Faso. J Econ Inequal 19, 45–72 (2021).

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  • Risk attitudes
  • Family background
  • Sibling correlations
  • Gender
  • Burkina Faso

JEL classifications

  • D1
  • D81
  • J6
  • Z1