Contracting under Incomplete Information and Social Preferences: An Experimental Study
AbstractPrincipal-agent models in which the agent has access to private information before a contract is signed are a cornerstone of contract theory. We have conducted an experiment with 720 participants to explore whether the theoretical insights are reflected by the behavior of subjects in the laboratory and to what extent deviations from standard theory can be explained by social preferences. Investigating settings with both exogenous and endogenous information structures, we find that agency theory is indeed useful to qualitatively predict how variations in the degree of uncertainty affect subjects' behavior. Regarding the quantitative deviations from standard predictions, our analysis based on several control treatments and quantal response estimations shows that agents' behavior can be explained by social preferences that are less pronounced than in conventional ultimatum games. Principals' own social preferences are not an important determinant of their behavior. However, when the principals make contract offers, they anticipate that social preferences affect agents' behavior.
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 44240.
Date of creation: Jan 2013
Date of revision:
Agency theory; Adverse selection; Information gathering; Ultimatum game; Social preferences; Experiment;
Other versions of this item:
- Hoppe, Eva I & Schmitz, Patrick W, 2013. "Contracting under Incomplete Information and Social Preferences: An Experimental Study," CEPR Discussion Papers 9287, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
- D86 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Economics of Contract Law
- D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design
- C72 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Noncooperative Games
- C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2013-02-16 (All new papers)
- NEP-CBE-2013-02-16 (Cognitive & Behavioural Economics)
- NEP-CTA-2013-02-16 (Contract Theory & Applications)
- NEP-EXP-2013-02-16 (Experimental Economics)
- NEP-HPE-2013-02-16 (History & Philosophy of Economics)
You can help add them by filling out this form.
reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.Access and download statistics
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Ekkehart Schlicht).
If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.
If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.
If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.
Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.