Risky Business: Cosmopolitan Culture and Risk-Taking

A. Timur Sevincer, Jung Yul Kwon, Michael E.W. Varnum, Shinobu Kitayama

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


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 (US)
Pages (from-to)295-315
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Cross-Cultural Psychology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Apr 2021


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

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Cultural Studies
  • Anthropology


Dive into the research topics of 'Risky Business: Cosmopolitan Culture and Risk-Taking'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this