Decision-making under uncertainty: investment choices of public sector decision- makers in the Czech Municipalities

Tomas Holub, Alasdair Marshall, John Hood

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Risk aversion has been widely considered as a factor in public management decision making, yet it raises complex issues concerning how the intrinsic risk attitudes of decisionmakers might interact with meso-level influences on behaviour within organisational decision-making contexts to produce risk averse choices. Motivated by these challenging issues, and mindful of the potentially harmful effects of risk aversion in constraining the development of public sectors and services across an enlarging Europe still reeling from the
effects of the global financial crisis, this study explored how public sector decision makers in the Czech Municipalities select between risky, risk neutral and risk averse decision options. The survey of 136 mayors showed respondents to be generally risk averse across scenarios involving different contexts and sizes of budget. Based on this evidence, we suggest public management debate on the enlarging Europe should take the problematic construct of general risk aversion very seriously as a constraint on public sector development to which institutional solutions must be found.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Finance and Management in Public Services.
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • decision-making
  • public sector
  • Czech local government


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