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Do voluntary payments to advisors improve the quality of financial advice? An experimental deception game

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  • Angelova, Vera
  • Regner, Tobias

Abstract

The market for retail financial products (e.g., investment funds or insurances) is marred by information asymmetries. Clients are not well informed about the quality of these products. They have to rely on the recommendations of advisors. Incentives of advisors and clients may not be aligned, when fees are used by financial institutions to steer advice. We experimentally investigate whether voluntary contract components can reduce the conflict of interest and increase truth telling of advisors. We compare a voluntary payment upfront, an obligatory payment upfront, a voluntary bonus afterwards, and a three-stage design with a voluntary payment upfront and a bonus after. Advisors are most truthful, when mutual opportunities to reciprocate exist, and when the voluntary payment is largest. Our analysis identifies the third stage bonus payment as the key feature for success as it allows for an interplay of reciprocal behavior between clients and advisors.

Suggested Citation

  • Angelova, Vera & Regner, Tobias, 2013. "Do voluntary payments to advisors improve the quality of financial advice? An experimental deception game," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 93(C), pages 205-218.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jeborg:v:93:y:2013:i:c:p:205-218
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jebo.2013.03.022
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    5. Bo Chen & Bin Zhang & Hua-qing Wu, 2015. "Misreporting behaviour in iterated prisoner's dilemma game with combined trust strategy," International Journal of Systems Science, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 46(1), pages 31-43, January.
    6. Vera Angelova & Tobias Regner, 2016. "Can a Bonus Overcome Moral Hazard? An Experiment on Voluntary Payments, Competition, and Reputation in Markets for Expert Services," SFB 649 Discussion Papers SFB649DP2016-027, Sonderforschungsbereich 649, Humboldt University, Berlin, Germany.
    7. Sascha Behnk & Iván Barreda-Tarrazona & Aurora García-Gallego, 2017. "An experimental test of reporting systems for deception," Working Papers 2017/11, Economics Department, Universitat Jaume I, Castellón (Spain).
    8. Ismayilov, Huseyn & Potters, Jan, 2013. "Disclosing advisor's interests neither hurts nor helps," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 93(C), pages 314-320.
    9. Schneider, Tim & Bizer, Kilian, 2017. "Expert qualification in markets for expert services: A Sisyphean Task?," Center for European, Governance and Economic Development Research Discussion Papers 323, University of Goettingen, Department of Economics.
    10. Behnk, Sascha & Barreda-Tarrazona, Iván & García-Gallego, Aurora, 2019. "Deception and reputation – An experimental test of reporting systems," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 71(C), pages 37-58.
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    15. Li, Xiaolin & Özer, Özalp & Subramanian, Upender, 2021. "Are we strategically naïve or guided by trust and trustworthiness in cheap-talk communication?," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 107103, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    16. Angelova, Vera & Regner, Tobias, 2018. "Can a bonus overcome moral hazard? Experimental evidence from markets for expert services," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 154(C), pages 362-378.
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    18. Jeremy Burke & Angela A. Hung & Jack Clift & Steven Garber & Joanne K. Yoong, 2015. "Impacts of Conflicts of Interest in the Financial Services Industry," Working Papers WR-1076, RAND Corporation.
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    21. Gneezy, Uri & Rockenbach, Bettina & Serra-Garcia, Marta, 2013. "Measuring lying aversion," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 93(C), pages 293-300.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Financial advisors; Asymmetric information; Principal–agent; Sender–receiver game; Deception; Reciprocity; Experiments; Voluntary payment;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
    • D03 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Behavioral Microeconomics: Underlying Principles
    • D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design
    • G20 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - General
    • L15 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Information and Product Quality
    • M52 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Personnel Economics - - - Compensation and Compensation Methods and Their Effects

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