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Risk aversion as effort incentive: A correction and prima facie test of the moral hazard theory of share tenancy

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  • Mark DeWeaver

    ()
    (Ithaca Advisors, LLC)

  • James Roumasset

    ()
    (University of Hawaii at Manoa)

Abstract

We show that Stiglitz's (1974) principal-agency theory of share tenancy does not imply, as alleged, that the optimal tenant share is less than one for risk-averse tenants nor that the share decreases monotonically with tenant risk aversion. Tenants may self insure by working harder increasingly so for higher levels of risk aversion with the result that the more risk averse work for higher shares. When the model is parameterized based on previous studies of Philippine agriculture, it predicts a U-shaped relationship between optimal tenant''s share and risk aversion. Landlords choose rent contracts for both high and low levels of risk aversion and shares from 80-99% for intermediate levels. In contrast, actual shares in the study area ranged from 50-60%, with most farmers contracted on a 50:50 basis. We conclude that rent contracts must have additional disadvantages and/or share tenancy additional benefits that are not accounted for in the static principal-agency theory.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by AccessEcon in its journal Economics Bulletin.

Volume (Year): 15 (2002)
Issue (Month): 4 ()
Pages: 1-16

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Handle: RePEc:ebl:ecbull:eb-01o10001

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Keywords: agricultural contracts;

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References

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  1. Ross, Stephen A, 1973. "The Economic Theory of Agency: The Principal's Problem," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 63(2), pages 134-39, May.
  2. Joseph E. Stiglitz, 1973. "Incentives and Risk-Sharing in Sharecropping," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 353, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  3. Reid, Joseph D., 1973. "Sharecropping As An Understandable Market Response: The Post-Bellum South," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 33(01), pages 106-130, March.
  4. Roumasset, James & Uy, Marilou, 1980. "Piece rates, time rates, and teams : Explaining patterns in the employment relation," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 1(4), pages 343-360, December.
  5. Rao, C H Hanumantha, 1971. "Uncertainty, Entrepreneurship, and Sharecropping in India," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 79(3), pages 578-95, May-June.
  6. David E. M. Sappington, 1991. "Incentives in Principal-Agent Relationships," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 5(2), pages 45-66, Spring.
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Cited by:
  1. James Roumasset, 2004. "Rural Institutions, Agricultural Development, and Pro-poor Economic Growth," Asian Journal of Agriculture and Development, Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture, vol. 1(1), pages 61-82, June.
  2. James Roumasset, 2006. "The Economics of Agricultural Development: What Have We Learned? Processes," Working Papers 200604, University of Hawaii at Manoa, Department of Economics.

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