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The effect of ambiguity aversion on reward scheme choice

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  • Kellner, Christian
  • Riener, Gerhard

Abstract

We test the implications of ambiguity aversion in a principal-agent problem with multiple agents. Models of ambiguity aversion suggest that, under ambiguity, comparative compensation schemes may become more attractive than independent wage contracts. We test this by presenting agents with a choice between comparative reward schemes and independent contracts, which are designed such that under uncertainty about output distributions (that is, under ambiguity), ambiguity averse agents (and only those) should typically prefer comparative reward schemes, independent of their degree of risk aversion. We indeed find that the share of agents who choose the comparative scheme is higher under ambiguity than in the case of known output distributions. --

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Heinrich‐Heine‐Universität Düsseldorf, Düsseldorf Institute for Competition Economics (DICE) in its series DICE Discussion Papers with number 55.

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Date of creation: 2012
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Handle: RePEc:zbw:dicedp:55

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Keywords: ambiguity aversion; comparative compensation schemes; Ellsberg urn; contract design;

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  1. Greiner, Ben, 2004. "An Online Recruitment System for Economic Experiments," MPRA Paper 13513, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  2. Stefan T. Trautmann & Ferdinand M. Vieider & Peter P. Wakker, 2011. "Preference Reversals for Ambiguity Aversion," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 57(7), pages 1320-1333, July.
  3. Halevy, Yoram, 2005. "Ellsberg Revisited: an Experimental Study," Microeconomics.ca working papers halevy-05-07-26-11-51-13, Vancouver School of Economics, revised 25 Feb 2014.
  4. Urs Fischbacher, 2007. "z-Tree: Zurich toolbox for ready-made economic experiments," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 10(2), pages 171-178, June.
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