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Information on attitudes to risk could increase understanding of and explain risky health behaviors. We investigate two approaches to eliciting risk preferences in the health domain, a novel "indirect" lottery elicitation approach with health states as outcomes and a "direct" approach where respondents are asked directly about their willingness to take risks. We compare the ability of the two approaches to predict health-related risky behaviors in a general adult population. We also investigate a potential framing effect in the indirect lottery elicitation approach. We find that risk preferences elicited using the direct approach can better predict health-related risky behavior than those elicited using the indirect approach. Moreover, a seemingly innocuous change to the framing of the lottery question results in significantly different risk preference estimates, and conflicting conclusions about the ability of the indicators to predict risky health behaviors.

Original publication




Journal article


Health Econ

Publication Date





836 - 858


framing effects, lottery elicitation approach, risk preference, risky health behavior, Adult, Health Behavior, Health Risk Behaviors, Humans