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Incentivizing calculated risk-taking :evidence from an experiment with commercial bank loan officers

  • Cole, Shawn
  • Kanz, Martin
  • Klapper, Leora

This paper uses a series of experiments with commercial bank loan officers to test the effect of performance incentives on risk-assessment and lending decisions. The paper first shows that, while high-powered incentives lead to greater screening effort and more profitable lending, their power is muted by both deferred compensation and the limited liability typically enjoyed by loan officers. Second, the paper presents direct evidence that incentive contracts distort judgment and beliefs, even among trained professionals with many years of experience. Loans evaluated under more permissive incentive schemes are rated significantly less risky than the same loans evaluated under pay-for-performance.

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Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 6146.

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Date of creation: 01 Jul 2012
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Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:6146
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  7. Andrew Hertzberg & Jose Maria Liberti & Daniel Paravisini, 2010. "Information and Incentives Inside the Firm: Evidence from Loan Officer Rotation," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 65(3), pages 795-828, 06.
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  18. Benjamin J. Keys & Tanmoy Mukherjee & Amit Seru & Vikrant Vig, 2010. "Did Securitization Lead to Lax Screening? Evidence from Subprime Loans," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 125(1), pages 307-362.
  19. Patrick Bolton & Hamid Mehran & Joel Shapiro, 2010. "Executive compensation and risk taking," Staff Reports 456, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
  20. Stephan Meier & Charles Sprenger, 2010. "Present-Biased Preferences and Credit Card Borrowing," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 2(1), pages 193-210, January.
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  26. Giovanni Dell'Ariccia & Robert Marquez, 2006. "Lending Booms and Lending Standards," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 61(5), pages 2511-2546, October.
  27. Ben-David, Itzhak & Agarwal, Sumit, 2012. "Do Loan Officers' Incentives Lead to Lax Lending Standards?," Working Paper Series 2012-07, Ohio State University, Charles A. Dice Center for Research in Financial Economics.
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