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Trust and Reciprocity in Incentive Contracting

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  • Mary Rigdon

    (University of Michigan)

Abstract

Principals can attempt to get agents to perform certain actions preferable to the principal by using ex post}punishments and rewards to align incentives. Field data is mixed on whether, and to what extent, such informal incentive contracting (paradoxically) crowds out efficient solutions to the agency problem. This paper explores, via a novel set of laboratory experiments, the impact of ex post incentives on informal contracts between principals and agents in bargaining environments in which there are gains from exchange and when there is an opportunity for the principal to relay a no-cost demand of the division of those gains. Incentive contracting in these environments does not crowd-out off- equilibrium cooperation, and at high incentive levels cooperation is crowded in.

Suggested Citation

  • Mary Rigdon, 2005. "Trust and Reciprocity in Incentive Contracting," Experimental 0511007, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwpex:0511007
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    incentives; principal-agent; bargaining; trust; cooperation; punishment; reward;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • C70 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - General
    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
    • D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement
    • D81 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Criteria for Decision-Making under Risk and Uncertainty

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