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On The Preferences Of Principals And Agents

Author

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  • MARCO CASTILLO
  • RAGAN PETRIE
  • MAXIMO TORERO

Abstract

"One of the reasons why market economies are able to thrive is that they exploit the willingness of entrepreneurs to take risks that laborers might prefer to avoid. Markets work because they remunerate good judgment and punish mistakes. Indeed, modern contract theory is based on the assumption that principals are less risk averse than agents. We investigate if the risk preferences of entrepreneurs are different from those of laborers by implementing experiments with a random sample of the population in a fast-growing, small-manufacturing, economic cluster. As assumed by theory, we find that entrepreneurs are more likely to take risks than hired managers. These results are robust to the inclusion of a series of controls. This lends support to the idea that risk preferences is an important determinant of selection into occupations. Finally, our lotteries are good predictors of financial decisions, thus giving support to the external validity of our risk measures and experimental methods" ("JEL" C93, D81, D86). Copyright (c) 2009 Western Economic Association International.

Suggested Citation

  • Marco Castillo & Ragan Petrie & Maximo Torero, 2010. "On The Preferences Of Principals And Agents," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 48(2), pages 266-273, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:ecinqu:v:48:y:2010:i:2:p:266-273
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Maitra, Pushkar & Mani, Subha, 2017. "Learning and earning: Evidence from a randomized evaluation in India," Labour Economics, Elsevier, pages 116-130.
    2. Arnaud Reynaud & Stéphane Couture, 2012. "Stability of risk preference measures: results from a field experiment on French farmers," Theory and Decision, Springer, pages 203-221.
    3. Utteeyo Dasgupta & Lata Gangadharan & Pushkar Maitra & Subha Mani & Samyukta Subramanian, 2012. "Choosing to be Trained: Evidence from a Field Experiment," Monash Economics Working Papers 43-12, Monash University, Department of Economics.
    4. Hill, Ruth Vargas & Maruyama, Eduardo & Viceisza, Angelino, 2012. "Breaking the norm: An empirical investigation into the unraveling of good behavior," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 99(1), pages 150-162.
    5. Castillo, Marco & Ferraro, Paul J. & Jordan, Jeffrey L. & Petrie, Ragan, 2011. "The today and tomorrow of kids: Time preferences and educational outcomes of children," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(11), pages 1377-1385.
    6. Dasgupta, Utteeyo & Gangadharan, Lata & Maitra, Pushkar & Mani, Subha & Subramanian, Samyukta, 2015. "Choosing to be trained: Do behavioral traits matter?," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 110(C), pages 145-159.
    7. Hahn, Youjin & Islam, Asadul & Patacchini, Eleonora & Zenou, Yves, 2015. "Network Structure and Education Outcomes: Evidence from a Field Experiment in Bangladesh," IZA Discussion Papers 8872, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    8. Youjin Hahn & Asadul Islam & Eleonora Patacchini & Yves Zenou, 2015. "Teams, Organization and Education Outcomes: Evidence from a field experiment in Bangladesh," Monash Economics Working Papers 35-15, Monash University, Department of Economics.
    9. Yang, Fanzheng, 2013. "Using laboratory experiments to study otherwise unobservable labor market interactions," ISU General Staff Papers 201301010800004100, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
    10. Lönnqvist, Jan-Erik & Verkasalo, Markku & Walkowitz, Gari & Wichardt, Philipp C., 2015. "Measuring individual risk attitudes in the lab: Task or ask? An empirical comparison," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 119(C), pages 254-266.
    11. Dasgupta, Utteeyo & Gangadharan, Lata & Maitra, Pushkar & Mani, Subha & Subramanian, Samyukta, 2011. "Selection into skill accumulation: evidence using observational and experimental data," MPRA Paper 32383, University Library of Munich, Germany.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • C93 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Field Experiments
    • D81 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Criteria for Decision-Making under Risk and Uncertainty
    • D86 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Economics of Contract Law

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