The Impact of Exposure to Armed Conflict on Risk and Ambiguity Attitudes

61 Pages Posted: 5 May 2021

See all articles by arzu kibris

arzu kibris

University of Warwick

Neslihan Uler

University of Maryland - College Park

Date Written: May 1, 2021


We conduct an incentive-compatible lab-in-the-field experiment with a large representative sample to study how exposure to armed conflict affects risk and ambiguity preferences of individuals. We identify random exposure to conflict by relying on a natural experiment in Turkey created by the military institutions and the long running civil conflict in the country. We show that the effects on risk and ambiguity preferences depend on the type of exposure. We find that as the level of exposure to conflict environment increases individuals become more tolerant to risk. Having traumatic direct experiences of armed violence, however, creates the opposite effect and renders them extremely risk averse. Such individuals also become more averse to ambiguity. We also show that time since exposure should be considered in determining the overall effects. Overall our findings indicate that preferences on risk and ambiguity are history-dependent.

Keywords: Political Violence, Natural Experiment, Lab-in-the-field Experiment, Risk Preferences, Ambiguity Preferences, Stability of Economic Preferences

JEL Classification: C91, C93, D01, D74, D81

Suggested Citation

kibris, arzu and Uler, Neslihan, The Impact of Exposure to Armed Conflict on Risk and Ambiguity Attitudes (May 1, 2021). Available at SSRN:

Arzu Kibris

University of Warwick ( email )

Gibbet Hill Rd.
Coventry, West Midlands CV4 8UW
United Kingdom

Neslihan Uler (Contact Author)

University of Maryland - College Park ( email )

College Park, MD 20742
United States

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