Risky Business: Cosmopolitan Culture and Risk-Taking

Research output: Journal contributionsJournal articlesResearchpeer-review


Some metropolitan areas (e.g., Berlin, New York) have a cosmopolitan culture. That is, they serve as centers of economic development and value diversity, creativity, and equality. These areas offer economic and creative opportunities that are open to anyone willing to take a risk. Therefore, such cities may attract people who are high in risk-taking. We first showed that real-world risk-taking is more common in cities with a more cosmopolitan culture (Study 1). Second, we found that people who are more prone to risk-taking as measured by self-report (Studies 2a and 2b) and observed behavior (Study 3, preregistered) have greater preferences for cosmopolitan cities as residential destinations. Third, we tested a causal link between risk-taking and preference for cosmopolitan cities. Inducing a prevention focus (known to inhibit risk-taking) reduced people’s desire to settle in cosmopolitan cities (Study 4). We discuss implications for economic growth and migration to cosmopolitan cities.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Cross-Cultural Psychology
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)295-315
Number of pages21
Publication statusPublished - 01.04.2021
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2021.

    Research areas

  • cosmopolitanism, independence and interdependence, prevention focus, promotion focus, risk-taking, voluntary settlement
  • Psychology