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Risk taking by agents : The role of ex-ante and ex-post accountability


  • Pollmann, Monique

    (Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management)

  • Potters, J.J.M.

    (Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management)

  • Trautmann, S.T.

    (Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management)


We study the role of accountability in situations where an agent makes risky decisions for a principal. We observe that in the absence of accountability, agents choose less risk averse investments for the principal than investors who invest for their own account. Accountability mitigates the observed decrease in risk aversion. Differences are observed between situations where agents are accountable for their decision (“ex-ante”) and where they are accountable for the outcome (“ex-post”).
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  • Pollmann, Monique & Potters, J.J.M. & Trautmann, S.T., 2014. "Risk taking by agents : The role of ex-ante and ex-post accountability," Other publications TiSEM 778a60cb-96c3-4505-a68a-4, Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management.
  • Handle: RePEc:tiu:tiutis:778a60cb-96c3-4505-a68a-4ea45a7f18c5

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Loewenstein, George, 1996. "Out of Control: Visceral Influences on Behavior," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 65(3), pages 272-292, March.
    2. Uri Gneezy & Jan Potters, 1997. "An Experiment on Risk Taking and Evaluation Periods," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 112(2), pages 631-645.
    3. Pahlke, Julius & Strasser, Sebastian & Vieider, Ferdinand M., 2012. "Risk-taking for others under accountability," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 114(1), pages 102-105.
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    5. Andersson, Ola & Holm, Håkan J. & Tyran, Jean-Robert & Wengström, Erik, 2013. "Risking Other People’s Money: Experimental Evidence on Bonus Schemes, Competition, and Altruism," Working Paper Series 989, Research Institute of Industrial Economics.
    6. Dijk, Oege & Holmen, Martin & Kirchler, Michael, 2014. "Rank matters–The impact of social competition on portfolio choice," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 66(C), pages 97-110.
    7. Kristoffer W. Eriksen & Ola Kvaløy, 2010. "Myopic Investment Management," Review of Finance, European Finance Association, vol. 14(3), pages 521-542.
    8. Polman, Evan, 2012. "Self–other decision making and loss aversion," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 119(2), pages 141-150.
    9. Mathieu Lefebvre & Ferdinand Vieider, 2013. "Reining in excessive risk-taking by executives: the effect of accountability," Theory and Decision, Springer, vol. 75(4), pages 497-517, October.
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    Cited by:

    1. Timo Heinrich & Thomas Mayrhofer, 2018. "Higher-order risk preferences in social settings," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 21(2), pages 434-456, June.
    2. Ifcher, John & Zarghamee, Homa, 2018. "Behavioral Economic Phenomena in Decision-Making for Others," IZA Discussion Papers 11946, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    3. Kristoffer W. Eriksen & Ola Kvaløy & Miguel Luzuriaga, 2017. "Risk-taking on Behalf of Others," CESifo Working Paper Series 6378, CESifo Group Munich.
    4. König-Kersting, Christian & Trautmann, Stefan T., 2016. "Ambiguity attitudes in decisions for others," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 146(C), pages 126-129.
    5. Füllbrunn, Sascha & Luhan, Wolfgang J., 2015. "Am I my Peer's Keeper? Social Responsibility in Financial Decision Making," Ruhr Economic Papers 551, RWI - Leibniz-Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-University Bochum, TU Dortmund University, University of Duisburg-Essen.
    6. Sandro Casal & Matteo Ploner & Alec N. Sproten, 2019. "Fostering The Best Execution Regime: An Experiment About Pecuniary Sanctions And Accountability In Fiduciary Money Management," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 57(1), pages 600-616, January.
    7. Ferdinand M. Vieider & Clara Villegas-Palacio & Peter Martinsson & Milagros Mejía, 2016. "Risk Taking For Oneself And Others: A Structural Model Approach," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 54(2), pages 879-894, April.
    8. Sheheryar Banuri & Stefan Dercon & Varun Gauri, 2019. "Biased Policy Professionals," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 33(2), pages 310-327.
    9. Lazar, Maya & Levkowitz, Amir & Oren, Amit & Sonsino, Doron, 2017. "A note on receptiveness to loss in structured Investment," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 69(C), pages 92-98.
    10. Alain Cohn & Ernst Fehr & Michel André Maréchal, 2017. "Do Professional Norms in the Banking Industry Favor Risk-taking?," CESifo Working Paper Series 6398, CESifo Group Munich.
    11. Thomas Garcia & Sébastien Massoni & Marie Claire Villeval, 2018. "Ambiguity and excuse-driven behavior in charitable giving," Working Papers halshs-01934606, HAL.
    12. Ola Andersson & Håkan J. Holm & Jean-Robert Tyran & Erik Wengström, 2016. "Deciding for Others Reduces Loss Aversion," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 62(1), pages 29-36, January.
    13. Francesco Feri & Caterina Giannetti & Pietro Guarnieri, 2017. "Risk taking for others: an experiment on ethics meetings," Discussion Papers 2017/229, Dipartimento di Economia e Management (DEM), University of Pisa, Pisa, Italy.
    14. Girtz, Robert & Hill, Joshua & Owens, Mark, 2017. "Risk preferences, responsibility, and self-monitoring in a Stag Hunt," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 68(C), pages 53-61.
    15. Matteo Ploner & Viola Saredi, 2016. "Taking Over Control:An Experimental Analysis of Delegation Avoidance in Risky Choices," CEEL Working Papers 1606, Cognitive and Experimental Economics Laboratory, Department of Economics, University of Trento, Italia.
    16. Sebastian Olschewski & Marius Dietsch & Elliot A. Ludvig, 2019. "Anti-social motives explain increased risk aversion for others in decisions from experience," Judgment and Decision Making, Society for Judgment and Decision Making, vol. 14(1), pages 58-71, January.
    17. Xu, Yilong & Xu, Xiaogeng & Tucker, Steven, 2018. "Ambiguity attitudes in the loss domain: Decisions for self versus others," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 170(C), pages 100-103.
    18. de Oliveira, Angela C.M. & Smith, Alexander & Spraggon, John, 2017. "Reward the lucky? An experimental investigation of the impact of agency and luck on bonuses," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 62(C), pages 87-97.
    19. repec:zbw:rwirep:0551 is not listed on IDEAS
    20. Kling, Luisa & König-Kersting, Christian & Trautmann, Stefan T., 2019. "Investment Preferences and Risk Perception: Financial Agents versus Clients," Working Papers 0674, University of Heidelberg, Department of Economics.
    21. Kvaløy, Ola & Eriksen, Kristoffer & Luzuriaga , Miguel, 2014. "Risk-taking with Other People’s Money," UiS Working Papers in Economics and Finance 2014/21, University of Stavanger.
    22. Sascha Füllbrunn & Wolfgang J. Luhan, 2015. "Am I my Peer‘s Keeper? Social Responsibility in Financial Decision Making," Ruhr Economic Papers 0551, Rheinisch-Westfälisches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Universität Dortmund, Universität Duisburg-Essen.
    23. Gregor Dorfleitner & Mai Nguyen, 2016. "Which proportion of SR investments is enough? A survey-based approach," Business Research, Springer;German Academic Association for Business Research, vol. 9(1), pages 1-25, April.
    24. Alain Cohn & Ernst Fehr & Michel André Maréchal, 2017. "Do Professional Norms in the Banking Industry Favor Risk-taking?," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 30(11), pages 3801-3823.
    25. Trautmann, Stefan T. & Kuilen, Gijs van de, 2018. "Higher order risk attitudes: A review of experimental evidence," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 103(C), pages 108-124.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D81 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Criteria for Decision-Making under Risk and Uncertainty
    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior


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