IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/tpr/jeurec/v5y2007i1p66-92.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

Incentive Design under Loss Aversion

Author

Listed:
  • David de Meza
  • David C. Webb

Abstract

Compensation schemes often reward success but do not penalize failure. Fixed salaries with stock options or bonuses have this feature. Yet the standard principal-agent model implies that pay is normally monotonically increasing in performance. This paper shows that, under loss aversion, there will be intervals over which pay is insensitive to performance, with the use of carrots but not sticks frequently optimal, especially when risk aversion is low and reference income is endogenous. A further benefit of capping losses, for example through options, is to discourage reckless behavior by executives seeking to resurrect their fortunes. (JEL:F3, F4) (c) 2007 by the European Economic Association.

Suggested Citation

  • David de Meza & David C. Webb, 2007. "Incentive Design under Loss Aversion," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 5(1), pages 66-92, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:tpr:jeurec:v:5:y:2007:i:1:p:66-92
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/journal/10.1111/(ISSN)1542-4774/issues
    File Function: link to full text
    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 below or search for a different version of it.

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Brian J. Hall & Jeffrey B. Liebman, 1998. "Are CEOs Really Paid Like Bureaucrats?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 113(3), pages 653-691.
    2. Richard H. Thaler & Amos Tversky & Daniel Kahneman & Alan Schwartz, 1997. "The Effect of Myopia and Loss Aversion on Risk Taking: An Experimental Test," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 112(2), pages 647-661.
    3. Canice Prendergast, 1999. "The Provision of Incentives in Firms," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 37(1), pages 7-63, March.
    4. Kahneman, Daniel & Tversky, Amos, 1979. "Prospect Theory: An Analysis of Decision under Risk," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 47(2), pages 263-291, March.
    5. Samuelson, William & Zeckhauser, Richard, 1988. "Status Quo Bias in Decision Making," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 1(1), pages 7-59, March.
    6. Tversky, Amos & Kahneman, Daniel, 1992. "Advances in Prospect Theory: Cumulative Representation of Uncertainty," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 5(4), pages 297-323, October.
    7. Kahneman, Daniel & Knetsch, Jack L & Thaler, Richard H, 1990. "Experimental Tests of the Endowment Effect and the Coase Theorem," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(6), pages 1325-1348, December.
    8. Stephen A. Ross, 2004. "Compensation, Incentives, and the Duality of Risk Aversion and Riskiness," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 59(1), pages 207-225, February.
    9. Mas-Colell, Andreu & Whinston, Michael D. & Green, Jerry R., 1995. "Microeconomic Theory," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780195102680.
    10. Bebchuk, Lucian A. & Fried, Jesse M., 2003. "Executive Compensation as an Agency Problem," Berkeley Olin Program in Law & Economics, Working Paper Series qt81q3136r, Berkeley Olin Program in Law & Economics.
    11. Sugden, Robert, 2003. "Reference-dependent subjective expected utility," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 111(2), pages 172-191, August.
    12. Bebchuk, Lucian Arye & Fried, Jesse & Walker, David I, 2001. "Executive Compensation in America: Optimal Contracting or Extraction of Rents," CEPR Discussion Papers 3112, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    13. Lucian Arye Bebchuk & Jesse M. Fried, 2003. "Executive Compensation as an Agency Problem," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 17(3), pages 71-92, Summer.
    14. Jack Knetsch & Fang-Fang Tang & Richard Thaler, 2001. "The Endowment Effect and Repeated Market Trials: Is the Vickrey Auction Demand Revealing?," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 4(3), pages 257-269, December.
    15. Kachelmeier, Steven J & Shehata, Mohamed, 1992. "Examining Risk Preferences under High Monetary Incentives: Experimental Evidence from the People's Republic of China," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(5), pages 1120-1141, December.
    16. Bengt Holmstrom, 1979. "Moral Hazard and Observability," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 10(1), pages 74-91, Spring.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

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


    Cited by:

    1. Jonathan de Quidt, 2014. "Your Loss Is My Gain: A Recruitment Experiment With Framed Incentives," STICERD - Economic Organisation and Public Policy Discussion Papers Series 52, Suntory and Toyota International Centres for Economics and Related Disciplines, LSE.
    2. Fabian Herweg & Daniel Muller & Philipp Weinschenk, 2010. "Binary Payment Schemes: Moral Hazard and Loss Aversion," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, pages 2451-2477.
    3. Kräkel, Matthias & Nieken, Petra, 2015. "Relative performance pay in the shadow of crisis," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 74(C), pages 244-268.
    4. Chaigneau, Pierre, 2013. "Explaining the structure of CEO incentive pay with decreasing relative risk aversion," Journal of Economics and Business, Elsevier, vol. 67(C), pages 4-23.
    5. Ingolf Dittmann & Ernst Maug & Oliver Spalt, 2010. "Sticks or Carrots? Optimal CEO Compensation when Managers Are Loss Averse," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 65(6), pages 2015-2050, December.
    6. Hori, Keiichi & Osano, Hiroshi, 2014. "Investment timing decisions of managers under endogenous contracts," Journal of Corporate Finance, Elsevier, vol. 29(C), pages 607-627.
    7. Inés Macho-Stadler & David Pérez-Castrillo, 2016. "Moral Hazard: Base Models and Two Extensions," Working Papers 883, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.
    8. repec:eee:indorg:v:55:y:2017:i:c:p:114-136 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. Rablen, Matthew D., 2010. "Performance targets, effort and risk-taking," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 31(4), pages 687-697, August.
    10. Helen Bao & Chunming Meng, 2017. "Loss Aversion and Residential Property Development Decisions in China: A Semi-Parametric Estimation," ERES eres2017_156, European Real Estate Society (ERES).
    11. Kfir Eliaz & Ran Spiegler, 2014. "Reference Dependence and Labor Market Fluctuations," NBER Macroeconomics Annual, University of Chicago Press, vol. 28(1), pages 159-200.
    12. Bao, Helen X. H. & Meng, Charlotte Chunming, 2017. "Loss Aversion and Residential Property Development Decisions in the People’s Republic of China: A Semi-Parametric Estimation," ADBI Working Papers 640, Asian Development Bank Institute.
    13. Hamza Fadhila & Azouzi Mohamed Ali & Jarboui Anis, 2014. "Governance mechanisms, managerial’s commitment bias and firm’s investment decision escalation: Failure of firm?s crises communication: Bayesian network method," Asian Journal of Empirical Research, Asian Economic and Social Society, vol. 4(2), pages 125-149, February.
    14. Kuehnhanss, Colin R. & Heyndels, Bruno & Hilken, Katharina, 2015. "Choice in politics: Equivalency framing in economic policy decisions and the influence of expertise," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 40(PB), pages 360-374.
    15. Fabian Herweg & Daniel Müller & Philipp Weinschenk, 2008. "The Optimality of Simple Contracts: Moral Hazard and Loss Aversion," Bonn Econ Discussion Papers bgse17_2008, University of Bonn, Germany.
    16. K. Hilken & K.J.M. De Jaegher & M. Jegers, 2013. "Strategic Framing in Contracts," Working Papers 13-04, Utrecht School of Economics.
    17. Joaquim Vergés, 2010. "Incentive schemes for executive officers when forecasts matter," Managerial and Decision Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 31(5), pages 339-352.
    18. Bijapur, Mohan, 2011. "Moral hazard and renegotiation of multi-signal contracts," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 56619, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    19. Edoardo Grillo, 2013. "Reference Dependence, Risky Projects and Credible Information Transmission," Carlo Alberto Notebooks 331, Collegio Carlo Alberto.
    20. K. Hilken & S. Rosenkranz & K.J.M. De Jaegher & M. Jegers, 2013. "Reference Points, Performance and Ability: A Real Effort Experiment on Framed Incentive Schemes," Working Papers 13-15, Utrecht School of Economics.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • F4 - International Economics - - Macroeconomic Aspects of International Trade and Finance
    • F3 - International Economics - - International Finance

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    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:tpr:jeurec:v:5:y:2007:i:1:p:66-92. 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: (Kristin Waites). General contact details of provider: http://www.mitpressjournals.org/jeea .

    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.