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Incentive Effects of Funding Contracts: An Experiment

  • J. Philipp Reiss
  • Irenaeus Wolff

We examine the incentive effects of funding contracts on entrepreneurial effort decisions and allocative efficiency. We experiment with four types of contracts (standard debt contract, outside equity, non-monotonic contract, full-subsidy contract) that differ in the structure of investor repayment and, therefore, in the incentives for entrepreneurial effort provision. Theoretically the replacement of a standard debt contract by a repayment-equivalent non-monotonic contract reduces effort distortions and increases efficiency. We test this non-monotonic-contracts hypothesis in the laboratory as well. Our results reveal that the incentive effects of funding contracts need to be experienced before they reect in observed behavior. With sufficient experience observed behavior is consistent with the theoretical predictions and supports the non-monotonic-contracts hypothesis: we find that the replacement of a standard debt contract by a repayment-neutral non-monotonic contract increases entrepreneurial income by 170% and total surplus by 30% in our setting.

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Paper provided by Thurgauer Wirtschaftsinstitut, Universität Konstanz in its series TWI Research Paper Series with number 70.

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Date of creation: 2011
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Handle: RePEc:twi:respas:0070
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