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Do Social Connections Reduce Moral Hazard? Evidence from the New York City Taxi Industry

  • C. Kirabo Jackson
  • Henry S. Schneider

This study investigates the role of social networks in aligning the incentives of agents in settings with incomplete contracts. Specifically, the study examines the New York City taxi industry where taxis are often leased and lessee-drivers have worse driving outcomes than owner-drivers due to moral hazard. Using within-driver variation and instrumental variable strategies to remove selection, we find that drivers leasing from members of their country-of-birth community exhibit significantly reduced effects of moral hazard, representing an improvement of almost one-half of a standard deviation of the outcome measures. Screening is ruled out as an explanation, and other mechanisms are investigated. (JEL D82, D86, L92, Z13)

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Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal American Economic Journal: Applied Economics.

Volume (Year): 3 (2011)
Issue (Month): 3 (July)
Pages: 244-67

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Handle: RePEc:aea:aejapp:v:3:y:2011:i:3:p:244-67
Note: DOI: 10.1257/app.3.3.244
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  1. Xavier Gine & Dean Karlan, 2006. "Group versus Individual Liability: A Field Experiment in the Philippines," Working Papers 940, Economic Growth Center, Yale University.
  2. Kaivan Munshi, 2003. "Networks in the Modern Economy: Mexican Migrants in the U. S. Labor Market," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 118(2), pages 549-599.
  3. Erzo F. P. Luttmer, 2001. "Group Loyalty and the Taste for Redistribution," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 109(3), pages 500-528, June.
  4. Dean Karlan & Xavier Gine, 2006. "Group versus individual liability: A field experiment in the philippines," Natural Field Experiments 00253, The Field Experiments Website.
  5. Per-Anders Edin & Peter Fredriksson & Olof Åslund, 2003. "Ethnic Enclaves and the Economic Success of Immigrants—Evidence from a Natural Experiment," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 118(1), pages 329-357.
  6. C. Kirabo Jackson & Elias Bruegmann, 2009. "Teaching Students and Teaching Each Other: The Importance of Peer Learning for Teachers," NBER Working Papers 15202, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Michele Pellizzari, 2010. "Do Friends and Relatives Really Help in Getting a Good Job?," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 63(3), pages 494-510, April.
  8. Bandiera, Oriana & Barankay, Iwan & Rasul, Imran, 2009. "Social Connections and Incentives in the Workplace: Evidence from Personnel Data," CEPR Discussion Papers 7114, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  9. Bengt Holmstrom, 1979. "Moral Hazard and Observability," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 10(1), pages 74-91, Spring.
  10. Ricard Gil & Wesley R. Hartmann, 2011. "Airing Your Dirty Laundry: Vertical Integration, Reputational Capital, and Social Networks," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 27(2), pages 219-244.
  11. Oriana Bandiera & Iwan Barankay & Imran Rasul, 2005. "Social Preferences and the Response to Incentives: Evidence from Personnel Data," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 120(3), pages 917-962.
  12. Mark M. Pitt & Shahidur R. Khandker, 1998. "The Impact of Group-Based Credit Programs on Poor Households in Bangladesh: Does the Gender of Participants Matter?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 106(5), pages 958-996, October.
  13. Karlan, Dean & Mobius, Markus & Rosenblat, Tanya & Szeidl, Adam, 2009. "Trust and Social Collateral," Staff General Research Papers 13026, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
  14. Dean Karlan & Markus Mobius & Tanya Rosenblat & Adam Szeidl, 2009. "Trust and Social Collateral," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 124(3), pages 1307-1361.
  15. W. Bruce Wydick, 1999. "Credit access, human capital and class structure mobility," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 35(6), pages 131-152.
  16. Besley, Timothy & Coate, Stephen, 1995. "Group lending, repayment incentives and social collateral," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 46(1), pages 1-18, February.
  17. Esther Duflo & Emmanuel Saez, 2003. "The Role of Information and Social Interactions in Retirement Plan Decisions: Evidence from a Randomized Experiment," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 118(3), pages 815-842.
  18. Abhijit V. Banerjee & Timothy Besley & Timothy W. Guinnane, 1994. "Thy Neighbor's Keeper: The Design of a Credit Cooperative with Theory and a Test," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 109(2), pages 491-515.
  19. Karlan, Dean & Gine, Xavier, 2009. "Group versus Individual Liability: Long Term Evidence from Philippine Microcredit Lending Groups," Working Papers 61, Yale University, Department of Economics.
  20. C. Kirabo Jackson & Henry S. Schneider, 2010. "Do Social Connections Reduce Moral Hazard? Evidence from the New York City Taxi Industry," NBER Working Papers 16279, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  21. Xavier Giné & Dean Karlan, 2009. "Group versus Individual Liability: Long Term Evidence from Philippine Microcredit Lending Groups," Working Papers 970, Economic Growth Center, Yale University.
  22. Henry Schneider, 2010. "Moral Hazard in Leasing Contracts: Evidence from the New York City Taxi Industry," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 53(4), pages 783 - 805.
  23. C. Kirabo Jackson, 2010. "Match Quality, Worker Productivity, and Worker Mobility: Direct Evidence From Teachers," NBER Working Papers 15990, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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