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

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

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Cole, Shawn & Kanz, Martin & Klapper, Leora, 2012. "Incentivizing calculated risk-taking :evidence from an experiment with commercial bank loan officers," Policy Research Working Paper Series 6146, The World Bank.
  • Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:6146
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Brown, Martin & Schaller, Matthias & Westerfeld, Simone & Heusler, Markus, 2015. "Internal Control and Strategic Communication within Firms – Evidence from Bank Lending," Working Papers on Finance 1504, University of St. Gallen, School of Finance, revised Jul 2015.
    2. Ing-Haw Cheng & Sahil Raina & Wei Xiong, 2014. "Wall Street and the Housing Bubble," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 104(9), pages 2797-2829, September.
    3. Jia, Xiangping & Cull, Robert & Guo, Pei & Ma, Tao, 2016. "Commercialization and mission drift: Evidence from a large Chinese microfinance institution," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 40(C), pages 17-32.
    4. Minkyung Kim & K. Sudhir & Kosuke Uetake & Rodrigo Canales, 2016. "Multidimensional Sales Incentives in CRM Settings: Customer Adverse Selection and Moral Hazard," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 2085, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
    5. Daniel L. Chen & Tobias J. Moskowitz & Kelly Shue, 2016. "Decision Making Under the Gambler’s Fallacy: Evidence from Asylum Judges, Loan Officers, and Baseball Umpires," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 131(3), pages 1181-1242.
    6. Shu Hui Lan & Jia Yi Cheng & Sheng Guo, 2016. "How to Build up the Loan - Evaluation System toward Small and Medium Enterprises between Taiwan and China’s Commercial Banks? The Application for Multi Criteria Decision Making," International Business Research, Canadian Center of Science and Education, vol. 9(3), pages 121-142, March.
    7. Efing, Matthias & Hau, Harald & Kampkötter, Patrick & Steinbrecher, Johannes, 2015. "Incentive pay and bank risk-taking: Evidence from Austrian, German, and Swiss banks," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 96(S1), pages 123-140.
    8. Choudhary, M. Ali & Jain, Anil, 2014. "How public information affects asymmetrically informed lenders: evidence from credit registry reform," MPRA Paper 58917, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    9. Chaiporn Vithessonthi, 2016. "The Consequences of Bank Loan Growth: Evidence from Asia," PIER Discussion Papers 19., Puey Ungphakorn Institute for Economic Research, revised Feb 2016.
    10. Daniel Chen & Tobias J. Moskowitz & Kelly Shue, 2016. "Decision-Making under the Gambler's Fallacy: Evidence from Asylum Judges, Loan Officers, and Baseball Umpires," NBER Working Papers 22026, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    11. Gropp, Reint E. & Park, Kyounghoon, 2016. "To Separate or not to Separate Investment from Commercial Banking? An Empirical Analysis of Attention Distortion under Multiple Tasks," IWH Discussion Papers 2/2016, Halle Institute for Economic Research (IWH).
    12. Aikman, David & Haldane, Andrew & Hinterschweiger, Marc & Kapadia, Sujit, 2018. "Rethinking financial stability," Bank of England working papers 712, Bank of England.
    13. Sumit Agarwal & Itzhak Ben-David, 2014. "Loan Prospecting and the Loss of Soft Information," NBER Working Papers 19945, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    14. Brown, Martin & Kirschenmann, Karolin & Spycher, Thomas, 2017. "Numeracy and the quality of on-the-job decisions: Evidence from loan officers," ZEW Discussion Papers 17-026, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
    15. Behr, Patrick & Drexler, Alejandro & Gropp, Reint & Guettler, Andre, 2014. "Financial incentives and loan officer behavior: Multitasking and allocation of effort under an incomplete contract," SAFE Working Paper Series 62, Research Center SAFE - Sustainable Architecture for Finance in Europe, Goethe University Frankfurt.
    16. Thorsten Beck & Patrick Behr & Andreas Madestam, 2011. "Sex and Credit: Is There a Gender Bias in Lending?," Working Papers 411, IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University.
    17. repec:bla:etrans:v:25:y:2017:i:3:p:377-437 is not listed on IDEAS
    18. Alain Cohn & Ernst Fehr & Michel André Maréchal, 2017. "Do professional norms in the banking industry favor risk-taking?," ECON - Working Papers 244, Department of Economics - University of Zurich.
    19. Römer, Ulf & Weber, Ron & Mußhoff, Oliver & Turvey, Calcum G., 2017. "Truth and consequences: Bogus pipeline experiment in informal small business lending," DARE Discussion Papers 1702, Georg-August University of Göttingen, Department of Agricultural Economics and Rural Development (DARE).
    20. Bertay, Ata & Uras, Burak, 2016. "Leverage, Bank Employee Compensation and Institutions," Discussion Paper 2016-004, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
    21. Choudhary, M. Ali & jain, Anil K., 2014. "How Public Information Affects Asymmetrically Informed Lenders: Evidence from a Credit Registry Reform," International Finance Discussion Papers 1125, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    22. Tobias Berg & Manju Puri & Jorg Rocholl, 2013. "Loan officer Incentives and the Limits of Hard Information," NBER Working Papers 19051, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Debt Markets; Access to Finance; Bankruptcy and Resolution of Financial Distress; Banks&Banking Reform; Microfinance;

    JEL classification:

    • D03 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Behavioral Microeconomics: Underlying Principles
    • G21 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Banks; Other Depository Institutions; Micro Finance Institutions; Mortgages
    • J22 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Time Allocation and Labor Supply
    • J33 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Compensation Packages; Payment Methods
    • L2 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior

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