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Incentive effects of funding contracts: an experiment

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  • J. Reiß

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  • Irenaeus Wolff

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Abstract

We examine the incentive effects of funding contracts on entrepreneurial effort and on allocative efficiency. We experiment with funding contracts that differ in the structure of investor repayment and, thus, in their incentives for the provision of entrepreneurial effort. Theoretically the replacement of a standard debt contract by a repayment-equivalent non-monotonic contract reduces effort distortions and increases efficiency. Likewise, distortions can be mitigated by replacing outside equity by a repayment-equivalent standard-debt contract. We test both hypotheses in the laboratory. Our results reveal that the incentive effects of funding contracts must be experienced before they are reflected in observed behavior. With sufficient experience, observed behavior is either consistent with or close to theoretical predictions and supports both hypotheses. If we allow for entrepreneur-sided manipulations of project outcomes, we find that non-monotonic contracts lose much of their appeal. Copyright Economic Science Association 2014

Suggested Citation

  • J. Reiß & Irenaeus Wolff, 2014. "Incentive effects of funding contracts: an experiment," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 17(4), pages 586-614, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:expeco:v:17:y:2014:i:4:p:586-614 DOI: 10.1007/s10683-013-9385-5
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    1. J. Reiß & Irenaeus Wolff, 2014. "Incentive effects of funding contracts: an experiment," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 17(4), pages 586-614, December.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Hidden information; Funding contracts; Incentives; Experiment; Standard debt contract; Non-monotonic contract; State manipulation; C91; D82; G21;

    JEL classification:

    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
    • D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design
    • G21 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Banks; Other Depository Institutions; Micro Finance Institutions; Mortgages

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