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Do voluntary payments to advisors improve the quality of financial advice? An experimental sender-receiver game

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  • Vera Angelova

    ()
    (Max Planck Institute of Economics, Jena)

  • Tobias Regner

    ()
    (Max Planck Institute of Economics, Jena)

Abstract

The market for retail financial products (e.g. investment funds or insurances) is marred by information asymmetries. Clients are not well informed about the quality of these products. They have to rely on the recommendations of advisors. Incentives of advisors and clients may not be aligned, when fees are used by financial institutions to steer advice. We experimentally investigate whether voluntary contract components can reduce the conflict of interest and increase truth telling of advisors. We compare a voluntary payment upfront, an obligatory payment upfront, a voluntary bonus afterwards, and a three-stage design with a voluntary payment upfront and a bonus after. Across treatments, there is significantly more truthful advice when both clients and advisors have opportunities to reciprocate. Within treatments, the frequency of truthful advice is significantly higher when the voluntary payment is large.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena, Max-Planck-Institute of Economics in its series Jena Economic Research Papers with number 2012-011.

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Date of creation: 28 Mar 2012
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Handle: RePEc:jrp:jrpwrp:2012-011

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Keywords: financial advisors; asymmetric information; principal-agent; sender-receiver game; reciprocity; experiments; voluntary payment;

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References

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  1. Santiago Sánchez-Pagés & Marc Vorsatz, 2009. "Enjoy the silence: an experiment on truth-telling," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 12(2), pages 220-241, June.
  2. Peeters, Ronald & Vorsatz, Marc & Walzl, Markus, 2007. "Rewards in an Experimental Sender-Receiver Game," Research Memorandum 019, Maastricht University, Maastricht Research School of Economics of Technology and Organization (METEOR).
  3. Sebastian Kube & Michel André Maréchal & Clemens Puppe, 2006. "Putting Reciprocity to Work - Positive versus Negative Responses in the Field," University of St. Gallen Department of Economics working paper series 2006 2006-27, Department of Economics, University of St. Gallen.
  4. Vera Popva, 2010. "What renders financial advisors less treacherous? - On commissions and reciprocity -," Jena Economic Research Papers 2010-036, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena, Max-Planck-Institute of Economics.
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Cited by:
  1. Anastasia Danilov & Torsten Biemann & Thorn Kring & Dirk Sliwka, 2012. "The dark side of team incentives: Experimental evidence on advice quality from financial service professionals," Cologne Graduate School Working Paper Series 03-13, Cologne Graduate School in Management, Economics and Social Sciences, revised 18 Dec 2012.
  2. Angelova, Vera & Regner, Tobias, 2013. "Do voluntary payments to advisors improve the quality of financial advice? An experimental deception game," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 93(C), pages 205-218.

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