BACKGROUND: Are we more risk-averse or risk-seeking when we make decisions on behalf of other people as opposed to ourselves? So far, findings have not been able to provide a clear and consistent answer.
METHOD: We propose a meta-analysis to assess whether self-other differences vary according to particular features of the decision. We reviewed 78 effect sizes from 49 studies (7,576 participants).
RESULTS: There was no overall self-other difference, but there were moderating effects of domain and frame. Decisions in the interpersonal domain were more risk-averse for self than for other. Decisions in the medical domain were more risk-seeking for self than for other. There were no overall self-other differences in the financial domain, however there was a moderating effect of frame: decisions in a gain frame were more risk-averse for self than other whereas decisions in a loss frame were more risk-seeking for self than other. This effect of frame was slightly different overall and in the medical domain, where self-other differences occurred in a loss frame but not in a gain frame.
CONCLUSION: Future work should continue to investigate how the specific content and context of the decision impacts self-other differences in order to understand the effects of domain and frame we report.