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Performance Pay and Risk Aversion

  • Grund, Christian
  • Sliwka, Dirk

A main prediction of agency theory is the well known risk-incentive trade-off. Incentive contracts should be found in environments with little uncertainty and for agents with low degrees of risk aversion. There is an ongoing debate in the literature about the first trade-off. Due to lack of data, there has so far been hardly any empirical evidence about the second. Making use of a unique representative data set, we find clear evidence that risk aversion has a highly significant and substantial negative impact on the probability that an employee's pay is performance contingent.

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File URL: http://epub.ub.uni-muenchen.de/13450/1/101.pdf
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Paper provided by Free University of Berlin, Humboldt University of Berlin, University of Bonn, University of Mannheim, University of Munich in its series Discussion Paper Series of SFB/TR 15 Governance and the Efficiency of Economic Systems with number 101.

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Date of creation: Mar 2006
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Handle: RePEc:trf:wpaper:101
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  1. Ackerberg, D.A. & Botticini, M., 1999. "Endogenous Matching and the Empirical Determinants of Contract Form," Papers 96, Boston University - Department of Economics.
  2. Dohmen T.J. & Falk A., 2010. "Performance pay and multi-dimensional sorting - Productivity, preferences and gender," Research Memorandum 012, Maastricht University, Maastricht Research School of Economics of Technology and Organization (METEOR).
  3. Hilt, Eric, 2008. "The negative trade-off between risk and incentives: Evidence from the american whaling industry," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 45(4), pages 424-444, September.
  4. Li, Fei & Ueda, Masako, 2005. "CEO-Firm Match and Principal-Agent Problem," CEPR Discussion Papers 5119, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  5. Holmstrom, Bengt & Milgrom, Paul, 1991. "Multitask Principal-Agent Analyses: Incentive Contracts, Asset Ownership, and Job Design," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 7(0), pages 24-52, Special I.
  6. Jullien, Bruno & Salanié, Bernard & Salanié, François, 2001. "Screening Risk Averse Agents Under Moral Hazard," CEPR Discussion Papers 3076, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  7. Pierre André Chiappori & Bernard Salanié, 2002. "Testing Contract Theory: A Survey of Some Recent Work," CESifo Working Paper Series 738, CESifo Group Munich.
  8. Rajesh Aggarwal & Andrew A. Samwick, 1998. "The Other Side of the Tradeoff: The Impact of Risk on Executive Compensation," NBER Working Papers 6634, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Armin Falk & David Huffman & Gert Wagner & Jurgen Schupp & Thomas Dohmen & Uwe Sunde, 2005. "Individual risk attitudes: New evidence from a large, representative, experimentally-validated survey," Framed Field Experiments 00140, The Field Experiments Website.
  10. Canice Prendergast, 1999. "The Provision of Incentives in Firms," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 37(1), pages 7-63, March.
  11. Allen, Douglas & Lueck, Dean, 1992. "Contract Choice in Modern Agriculture: Cash Rent versus Cropshare," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 35(2), pages 397-426, October.
  12. Allen, Douglas W & Lueck, Dean, 1995. "Risk Preferences and the Economics of Contracts," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(2), pages 447-51, May.
  13. Canice Prendergast, 2002. "The Tenuous Trade-off between Risk and Incentives," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 110(5), pages 1071-1102, October.
  14. Serfes, Konstantinos, 2005. "Risk sharing vs. incentives: Contract design under two-sided heterogeneity," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 88(3), pages 343-349, September.
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