IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

An experimental study of the impact of competition for Other People’s Money: the portfolio manager market


  • Marina Agranov


  • Alberto Bisin
  • Andrew Schotter


In this paper we experimentally investigate the impact that competing for funds has on the risk-taking behavior of laboratory portfolio managers compensated through an option-like scheme according to which the manager receives (most of) the compensation only for returns in excess of pre-specified strike price. We find that such a competitive environment and contractual arrangement lead, both in theory and in the lab, to inefficient risk taking behavior on the part of portfolio managers. We then study various policy interventions, obtained by manipulating various aspects of the competitive environment and the contractual arrangement, e.g., the Transparency of the contracts offered, the Risk Sharing component in the contract linking portfolio managers to investors, etc. While all these interventions would induce portfolio managers, at equilibrium, to efficiently invest funds in safe assets, we find that, in the lab, Transparency is most effective in incentivising managers to do so. Finally, we document a behavioral “Other People’s Money” effect in the lab, where portfolio managers tend to invest the funds of their investors in a more risky manner than their Own Money, even when it is not in either the investors’ or the managers’ interest to do so. Copyright Economic Science Association 2014

Suggested Citation

  • Marina Agranov & Alberto Bisin & Andrew Schotter, 2014. "An experimental study of the impact of competition for Other People’s Money: the portfolio manager market," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 17(4), pages 564-585, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:expeco:v:17:y:2014:i:4:p:564-585
    DOI: 10.1007/s10683-013-9384-6

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Brennan, Geoffrey & González, Luis G. & Güth, Werner & Levati, M. Vittoria, 2008. "Attitudes toward private and collective risk in individual and strategic choice situations," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 67(1), pages 253-262, July.
    2. Steven D. Levitt & Chad Syverson, 2008. "Market Distortions When Agents Are Better Informed: The Value of Information in Real Estate Transactions," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 90(4), pages 599-611, November.
    3. Jennifer N. Carpenter, 2000. "Does Option Compensation Increase Managerial Risk Appetite?," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 55(5), pages 2311-2331, October.
    4. Hodder, James E. & Jackwerth, Jens Carsten, 2007. "Incentive Contracts and Hedge Fund Management," Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, Cambridge University Press, vol. 42(4), pages 811-826, December.
    5. Keasey, Kevin & Moon, Philip, 1996. "Gambling with the house money in capital expenditure decisions: An experimental analysis," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 50(1), pages 105-110, January.
    6. Palomino, Frederic & Prat, Andrea, 2003. "Risk Taking and Optimal Contracts for Money Managers," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 34(1), pages 113-137, Spring.
    7. Sujoy Chakravarty & Glenn W. Harrison & Ernan E. Haruvy & E. Elisabet Rutström, 2011. "Are You Risk Averse over Other People's Money?," Southern Economic Journal, Southern Economic Association, vol. 77(4), pages 901-913, April.
    8. Richard H. Thaler, 2008. "Mental Accounting and Consumer Choice," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 27(1), pages 15-25, 01-02.
    9. Judith Chevalier & Glenn Ellison, 1999. "Career Concerns of Mutual Fund Managers," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 114(2), pages 389-432.
    10. Richard H. Thaler & Eric J. Johnson, 1990. "Gambling with the House Money and Trying to Break Even: The Effects of Prior Outcomes on Risky Choice," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 36(6), pages 643-660, June.
    11. Matutes, Carmen & Vives, Xavier, 2000. "Imperfect competition, risk taking, and regulation in banking," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 44(1), pages 1-34, January.
    12. Fung, William & Hsieh, David A., 1999. "A primer on hedge funds," Journal of Empirical Finance, Elsevier, vol. 6(3), pages 309-331, September.
    13. William N. Goetzmann & Jonathan E. Ingersoll & Stephen A. Ross, 2003. "High‐Water Marks and Hedge Fund Management Contracts," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 58(4), pages 1685-1718, August.
    14. Stephen J. Brown & William N. Goetzmann & James Park, 2001. "Careers and Survival: Competition and Risk in the Hedge Fund and CTA Industry," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 56(5), pages 1869-1886, October.
    15. Ernesto Reuben & Sigrid Suetens, 2012. "Revisiting strategic versus non-strategic cooperation," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 15(1), pages 24-43, March.
    16. Elena Asparouhova & Peter Bossaerts & Jernej Čopič & Brad Cornell & Jakša Cvitanić & Debrah Meloso, 2015. "Competition in Portfolio Management: Theory and Experiment," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 61(8), pages 1868-1888, August.
    17. Merlo, Antonio & Schotter, Andrew, 1999. "A Surprise-Quiz View of Learning in Economic Experiments," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 28(1), pages 25-54, July.
    18. Stavros Panageas & Mark M. Westerfield, 2009. "High‐Water Marks: High Risk Appetites? Convex Compensation, Long Horizons, and Portfolio Choice," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 64(1), pages 1-36, February.
    19. Kristoffer W. Eriksen & Ola Kvaløy, 2010. "Myopic Investment Management," Review of Finance, European Finance Association, vol. 14(3), pages 521-542.
    20. Hui Ou-Yang, 2003. "Optimal Contracts in a Continuous-Time Delegated Portfolio Management Problem," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 16(1), pages 173-208.
    21. Liang, Bing, 2000. "Hedge Funds: The Living and the Dead," Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, Cambridge University Press, vol. 35(3), pages 309-326, September.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Ifcher, John & Zarghamee, Homa, 2020. "Behavioral economic phenomena in decision-making for others," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 77(C).
    2. Eriksen, Kristoffer W. & Kvaløy, Ola & Luzuriaga, Miguel, 2020. "Risk-taking on behalf of others," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Finance, Elsevier, vol. 26(C).
    3. Dugar, Subhasish & Mitra, Arnab & Shahriar, Quazi, 2019. "Deception: The role of uncertain consequences," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 114(C), pages 1-18.
    4. Füllbrunn, Sascha & Luhan, Wolfgang J., 2015. "Am I my Peer's Keeper? Social Responsibility in Financial Decision Making," Ruhr Economic Papers 551, RWI - Leibniz-Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-University Bochum, TU Dortmund University, University of Duisburg-Essen.
    5. Sandro Casal & Matteo Ploner & Alec N. Sproten, 2019. "Fostering The Best Execution Regime: An Experiment About Pecuniary Sanctions And Accountability In Fiduciary Money Management," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 57(1), pages 600-616, January.
    6. Polman, Evan & Wu, Kaiyang, 2020. "Decision making for others involving risk: A review and meta-analysis," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 77(C).
    7. Cochard, François & Flage, Alexandre & Peterle, Emmanuel, 2019. "Intermediation and discrimination in an investment game: An experimental study," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 168(C), pages 196-208.
    8. Füllbrunn, Sascha & Luhan, Wolfgang J., 2020. "Responsibility and limited liability in decision making for others – An experimental consideration," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 77(C).
    9. Fornasari, Federico & Ploner, Matteo & Soraperra, Ivan, 2020. "Interpersonal risk assessment and social preferences: An experimental study," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 77(C).
    10. repec:zbw:rwirep:0551 is not listed on IDEAS
    11. Ahrens, Steffen & Bosch-Rosa, Ciril, 2019. "Heads We Both Win, Tails Only You Lose: the Effect of Limited Liability On Risk-Taking in Financial Decision Making," Rationality and Competition Discussion Paper Series 162, CRC TRR 190 Rationality and Competition.
    12. Ola Andersson & Håkan J. Holm & Jean‐Robert Tyran & Erik Wengström, 2020. "Risking Other People's Money: Experimental Evidence on the Role of Incentives and Personality Traits," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 122(2), pages 648-674, April.
    13. Sascha Füllbrunn & Wolfgang J. Luhan, 2015. "Am I my Peer‘s Keeper? Social Responsibility in Financial Decision Making," Ruhr Economic Papers 0551, Rheinisch-Westfälisches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Universität Dortmund, Universität Duisburg-Essen.
    14. Jana Freundt & Andreas Lange, 2019. "On the Impact of Risky Private and Public Returns in the Private Provision of Public Goods - The Case of Social Investments," CESifo Working Paper Series 7458, CESifo.
    15. Federico Fornasari & Matteo Ploner & Ivan Soraperra, 2015. "Investment in Risk Protection and Social Preferences: An Experimental Study," CEEL Working Papers 1503, Cognitive and Experimental Economics Laboratory, Department of Economics, University of Trento, Italia.
    16. Freundt, Jana & Lange, Andreas, 2017. "On the determinants of giving under risk," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 142(C), pages 24-31.

    More about this item


    Contracts; Experiments; Competition for funds; D86; D92;

    JEL classification:

    • D86 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Economics of Contract Law
    • D92 - Microeconomics - - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics - - - Intertemporal Firm Choice, Investment, Capacity, and Financing


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:kap:expeco:v:17:y:2014:i:4:p:564-585. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Sonal Shukla) or (Springer Nature Abstracting and Indexing). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.