IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this article

Contracts, livestock, and the Bernoulli process: an application of statistics to B. Traven's 'Cattle Drive'

Listed author(s):
  • Emil Berendt
Registered author(s):

    One of the pivotal devices B. Traven employs in his short story 'The Cattle Drive' is a contract between the cattle owner and the trail boss who brings the livestock to market. By specifying a per-diem rate, the contract appears to encourage a wage-maximizing trail boss to delay the delivery of the cattle. However, a statistical model of the contract demonstrates that a rational trail boss has an incentive to maintain a rapid rate of travel. The article concludes that statistics can be applied in non-traditional ways such as to the analysis of the plot of a fictional story. The statistical model suggests plausible alternative endings to the story based on various parameter assumptions. Finally, it demonstrates that a well-crafted story can provide an excellent case study of how contracts create incentives and influence decision-making.

    If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

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

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.

    Article provided by Taylor & Francis Journals in its journal Journal of Applied Statistics.

    Volume (Year): 35 (2008)
    Issue (Month): 2 ()
    Pages: 193-202

    in new window

    Handle: RePEc:taf:japsta:v:35:y:2008:i:2:p:193-202
    DOI: 10.1080/02664760701775571
    Contact details of provider: Web page:

    Order Information: Web:

    No references listed on IDEAS
    You can help add them by filling out this form.

    This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

    When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:taf:japsta:v:35:y:2008:i:2:p:193-202. 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: (Chris Longhurst)

    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 references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

    If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link 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 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.

    This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.