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The Structural Estimation of Principal-Agent Models by Least Squares: Evidence from Land Tenancy in Madagascar

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  • Brown, Zachary S.
  • Bellemare, Marc F.

Abstract

We develop a method to structurally estimate principal-agent models by ordinary least squares (OLS). We set up a general principal-agent model which explicitly incorporates the wealth levels of each party and the opportunity cost to the agent of entering the contract. This yields an optimal contract that is linearized by way of an Nth order Taylor approximation. This in turn imposes N(3N-1)/2 restrictions on the parameters and yields an empirical test of the canonical principal-agent model. In the application, we consider the case where N = 2 and apply our method to a sample of land tenancy contracts in rural Madagascar. Empirical tests lead to consistent failure to reject the hypotheses derived from our structural model, which lends support to our structural method as well as to the canonical principal-agent model.

Suggested Citation

  • Brown, Zachary S. & Bellemare, Marc F., 2009. "The Structural Estimation of Principal-Agent Models by Least Squares: Evidence from Land Tenancy in Madagascar," 2009 Annual Meeting, July 26-28, 2009, Milwaukee, Wisconsin 49368, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
  • Handle: RePEc:ags:aaea09:49368
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    File URL: http://purl.umn.edu/49368
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Paarsch, Harry J & Shearer, Bruce, 2000. "Piece Rates, Fixed Wages, and Incentive Effects: Statistical Evidence from Payroll Records," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 41(1), pages 59-92, February.
    2. Daniel A. Ackerberg & Maristella Botticini, 2002. "Endogenous Matching and the Empirical Determinants of Contract Form," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 110(3), pages 564-591, June.
    3. Bellemare, Marc F., 2010. "Insecure Land Rights and Share Tenancy in Madagascar," MPRA Paper 23640, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    4. Caputo,Michael R., 2005. "Foundations of Dynamic Economic Analysis," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521842723, March.
    5. Bellemare, Marc F. & Brown, Zachary S., 2009. "On the (Mis)Use of Wealth as a Proxy for Risk Aversion (PowerPoint)," SCC-76 Meeting, March 19-21, 2009, Galveston, Texas 48913, SCC-76: Economics and Management of Risk in Agriculture and Natural Resources.
    6. Christopher Ferrall & Bruce Shearer, 1999. "Incentives and Transactions Costs Within the Firm: Estimating an Agency Model Using Payroll Records," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 66(2), pages 309-338.
    7. Margiotta, Mary M & Miller, Robert A, 2000. "Managerial Compensation and the Cost of Moral Hazard," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 41(3), pages 669-719, August.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Principal-Agent Models; Contract Theory; Structural Estimations; Risk and Uncertainty; C12; C13; D86; O12; Q12;

    JEL classification:

    • C12 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods and Methodology: General - - - Hypothesis Testing: General
    • C13 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods and Methodology: General - - - Estimation: General
    • D86 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Economics of Contract Law
    • O12 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Microeconomic Analyses of Economic Development
    • Q12 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - Micro Analysis of Farm Firms, Farm Households, and Farm Input Markets

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