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Why Were Workers Whipped? Pain in a Principal-Agent Model

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  • Chwe, Michael Suk-Young

Abstract

One reason a person hurts another is to get that person to do something. This paper uses a model to show that threatening pain can be rational and that pain is inflicted upon people who are poor in the sense of having bad alternatives. The model corrects a confusion in previous models of slavery; gives an explanation of why child, and not adult, laborers were beaten during the industrial revolution; and prompts a discussion of the dangers of rational-choice modeling. Copyright 1990 by Royal Economic Society.

Suggested Citation

  • Chwe, Michael Suk-Young, 1990. "Why Were Workers Whipped? Pain in a Principal-Agent Model," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 100(403), pages 1109-1121, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:ecj:econjl:v:100:y:1990:i:403:p:1109-21
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Mark B. Stewart, 1983. "On Least Squares Estimation when the Dependent Variable is Grouped," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 50(4), pages 737-753.
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    8. Stewart, Mark B, 1983. "Relative Earnings and Individual Union Membership in the United Kingdom," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 50(198), pages 111-125, May.
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    11. William T. Dickens & Kevin Lang, 1985. "Testing Dual Labor Market Theory: A Reconsideration of the Evidence," NBER Working Papers 1670, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    12. Dewatripont, Mathias, 1987. "Entry deterrence under trade unions," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 31(1-2), pages 149-156.
    13. John Abowd, 1987. "Collective Bargaining and the Division of the Value of the Enterprise," Working Papers 598, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
    14. John E. Kwoka Jr., 1983. "Monopoly, Plant, and Union Effects on Worker Wages," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 36(2), pages 251-257, January.
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    Cited by:

    1. Haluk Ergin & Serdar Sayan, 1997. "A Microeconomic Analysis of Slavery in Comparison to Free Labor Economies," Working Papers 9708, Department of Economics, Bilkent University.
    2. Olivella, P. & Aron, D.J., 1991. "Bonuses and Penalties as Equilibrium Incentive Devices, with Application to Manufacturing Systems," UFAE and IAE Working Papers 153.91, Unitat de Fonaments de l'Anàlisi Econòmica (UAB) and Institut d'Anàlisi Econòmica (CSIC).
    3. Helmut Bester & Johannes Münster, 2016. "Subjective evaluation versus public information," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 61(4), pages 723-753, April.
    4. David Card & Gordon B. Dahl, 2011. "Family Violence and Football: The Effect of Unexpected Emotional Cues on Violent Behavior," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 126(1), pages 103-143.
    5. Lagerlöf, Nils-Petter, 2016. "Born free," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 121(C), pages 1-10.
    6. Daron Acemoglu & Alexander Wolitzky, 2011. "The Economics of Labor Coercion," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 79(2), pages 555-600, March.
    7. Francis Bloch & Vijayendra Rao, 2002. "Terror as a Bargaining Instrument: A Case Study of Dowry Violence in Rural India," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(4), pages 1029-1043, September.
    8. Bond, Philip & Newman, Andrew F., 2009. "Prohibitions on punishments in private contracts," Journal of Financial Intermediation, Elsevier, vol. 18(4), pages 526-540, October.
    9. Jonathan Conning, 2004. "The Causes of Slavery or Serfdom and the Roads to Agrarian Capitalism: Domar's Hypothesis Revisited," Economics Working Paper Archive at Hunter College 401, Hunter College Department of Economics.
    10. Bruce A. Weinberg, 2001. "An Incentive Model of the Effect of Parental Income on Children," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 109(2), pages 266-280, April.
    11. Kaushik Basu, 1999. "Child Labor: Cause, Consequence, and Cure, with Remarks on International Labor Standards," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 37(3), pages 1083-1119, September.
    12. Jellal, Mohamed, 2014. "A theory of family education incentives and inequality," MPRA Paper 57913, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    13. Alex Barrachina & Víctor González-Chordá, 2016. "To report or not to report: Applying game theory to nursing error reporting," Working Papers 2016/14, Economics Department, Universitat Jaume I, Castellón (Spain).

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