The risky investment game of Gneezy and Potters (1997) has been a popular tool used to estimate risk tolerance and myopic loss aversion. We have assessed whether a simple one-shot version of this game that is attractive as a simple tool to elicit risk tolerance among respondents with limited education, can lead to biased estimates of risk aversion due to endowment effects. We use a field experiment with a pool of young business group members with limited education to test for the potential bias associated with the initial endowment allocation.
We find a highly significant endowment effect which may explain low investment levels and exaggerated measures of risk aversion where this game has been used to estimate risk aversion. We develop and test a more balanced version of the risk investment game and demonstrate that it gives less bias due to endowment effects than the standard design and a full risk design that creates an endowment effect in the opposite direction, indicating that loss aversion may not be the primary cause of the endowment effect.