Publication JPART March 2018

Are future bureaucrats more risk averse? The effect of studying public administration and PSM on risk preferences (with Markus Tepe)


This study tests the effect of studying public administration and self-reported Public Service Motivation (PSM) on risk preferences. We conduct a compound lottery choice experiment with monetary rewards to measure risk behavior and a post-experiment survey to measure risk attitudes and PSM on three student subject pools. Empirical findings suggest that: First, students of public administration consider themselves more risk averse, but they do not behave more risk averse in the compound lottery choice experiment than business sciences and law students. Second, self-reported PSM is positively associated with risk-averse behavior in the compound lottery choice experiment. Thus, contrary to the popular stereotypical description of bureaucratic behavior, there are no substantive differences in risk behavior among future bureaucrats compared to other student groups.


Book chapter from Cambridge University Press in July 2017

Out now: Experiments in Public Administration Research: Challenges and Contributions, edited by Oliver James, Sebastian Jilke, and Gregg Van Ryzin. Together with Markus Tepe I contributed the chapter “Laboratory Experiments: Their Potential for Public Management Research”

Talk at Rutgers University in October 2018

Thanks to Gregg Van Ryzin and Sebastian Jilke from the School of Public Affairs and Administration, Rutgers University Newark/New Jersey,
USA, for inviting me to present recent work and to all participants for their fruitful comments on the paper.

I presented a preliminary version of the study “Who wants to jeopardize the merit principle? Evidence from an Issue Framing Experiment among Citizens and Future Bureaucrats” (together with Michael Jankowski and Markus Tepe) which addresses the question whether critics of Equal Employment Opportunity policies are correct by stating that supporters of these policies are willing to give up the merit principle in public hiring. We find a relationship between right-wing poltical attitudes and overemphasizing support for the merit principle when potential migrant discrimination is taken into account. The findings count for civic respondents as well as respondents with a public administration background.

Annual Meeting of the DVPW working group decision theory, 2018

Presenting recent work toward the behavioral consequences of self-reported risk attitudes on experimentally measured risk behavior and how this relationship is moderated by gender (“Risk attitudes, gender, and risk behavior: Evidence from two laboratory experiments”) at the annual meeting of the DVPW working group decision theory (AK Handlungs- und Entscheidungstheory) in Oldenburg/Germany from 31. May to 1. June 2018.