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Mechanisms for Enhancing the Credibility of an Adviser: Prepayment and Aligned Incentives

  • Patt, Anthony G.

    (Harvard U)

  • Bowles, Hannah Riley
  • Cash, David W.

    (Massachusetts Executive Office of Environmental Affairs)

Registered author(s):

    We tested the effectiveness of prepayment for advice and aligned incentives as mechanisms for enhancing trust in unfamiliar advisers in decision-making under uncertainty. Participants were low-income Zimbabweans who played two rounds of the Monty Hall three-door game. In round 1, participants who purchased advice were significantly more likely to follow advice for how to win the game than were participants who received free advice. In round 2, the apparent effectiveness of advisers’ suggestions in round 1 moderated participants’ propensity to follow advice. If the round 1 advice appeared wrong, the credibility enhancing benefits of prepayment diminished. If the advice appeared right, the benefits of prepayment maintained. Hypotheses with regard to the benefits of aligned incentives received only weak support.

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    Paper provided by Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government in its series Working Paper Series with number rwp06-010.

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    Date of creation: Mar 2006
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    Handle: RePEc:ecl:harjfk:rwp06-010
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    1. Tilman Slembeck & Jean-Robert Tyran, 2002. "Do Institutions Promote Rationality? An Experimental Study of the Three-Door Anomaly," University of St. Gallen Department of Economics working paper series 2002 2002-21, Department of Economics, University of St. Gallen.
    2. Camerer, Colin F. & Hogarth, Robin M., 1999. "The Effects of Financial Incentives in Experiments: A Review and Capital-Labor-Production Framework," Working Papers 1059, California Institute of Technology, Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences.
    3. Friedman, Daniel, 1998. "Monty Hall's Three Doors: Construction and Deconstruction of a Choice Anomaly," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(4), pages 933-46, September.
    4. Bagwell, Kyle & Riordan, Michael H, 1991. "High and Declining Prices Signal Product Quality," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(1), pages 224-39, March.
    5. Fluet, Claude & Garella, Paolo G., 2002. "Advertising and prices as signals of quality in a regime of price rivalry," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 20(7), pages 907-930, September.
    6. Burnham, Terence & McCabe, Kevin & Smith, Vernon L., 2000. "Friend-or-foe intentionality priming in an extensive form trust game," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 43(1), pages 57-73, September.
    7. Sniezek, Janet A. & Buckley, Timothy, 1995. "Cueing and Cognitive Conflict in Judge-Advisor Decision Making," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 62(2), pages 159-174, May.
    8. 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 1325-48, December.
    9. Yaniv, Ilan, 2004. "Receiving other people's advice: Influence and benefit," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 93(1), pages 1-13, January.
    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. Patt, Anthony, 2001. "Understanding uncertainty: forecasting seasonal climate for farmers in Zimbabwe," Risk, Decision and Policy, Cambridge University Press, vol. 6(02), pages 105-119, June.
    12. Amos Tversky & Daniel Kahneman, 1979. "Prospect Theory: An Analysis of Decision under Risk," Levine's Working Paper Archive 7656, David K. Levine.
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