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  • 1
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    Munich: Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute (CESifo)
    Publication Date: 2018-11-19
    Description: We study experimentally how the ability to communicate affects the frequency and effectiveness of flexible and inflexible contracts in a bilateral trade context where sellers can adjust trade quality after observing a post-contractual cost shock and a discretionary buyer transfer. In the absence of communication, we find that rigid contracts are more frequent and lead to higher earnings for both buyer and seller. By contrast, in the presence of communication, flexible contracts are much more frequent and considerably more productive, both for buyers and sellers. Also, both buyer and seller earn considerably more from flexible with communication than rigid without communication. Our results show quite strongly that communication, a normal feature in contracting, can remove the potential cost of flexibility (disagreements caused by conflicting perceptions). We offer an explanation based on social norms.
    Keywords: C91 ; ddc:330 ; contract design ; communication ; experiments ; Vertrag ; Kommunikation ; Test
    Language: English
    Type: doc-type:workingPaper
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  • 2
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    Bonn: Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA)
    Publication Date: 2015-05-22
    Description: The population of most developed societies is 'graying'. As life expectancy increases and the large baby-boom generation approaches retirement age, this has critical consequences for maintaining a high standard of living and the sustainability of pension systems. In the light of these labor-force and social concerns, we consider experimentally the comparative behavior of juniors (under 30) and seniors (over 50) in both experiments conducted onsite with the employees of two large firms and in a conventional laboratory environment with students and retirees. Our results are compelling. First, seniors are not more risk-averse, as opposed to the conventional stereotype. Second, both juniors and seniors react to the competitiveness of the environment and there is no significant difference in performance in the real-effort task across the generations when they are competing. Third, seniors are typically more cooperative than juniors in a team-production game. Cooperation is highest in groups in which there is a mix of juniors and seniors, suggesting that there are indeed benefits in maintaining a work force with diversity in age. Overall, the implication is that it is beneficial to define additional short-term incentives near the end of the workers' career to motivate and to retain older workers. A secondary, but important, issue is the external validity of conventional laboratory experiments. In general we do not find strong differences in behavior between workers and non-workers, indicating that laboratory experiments may not be such a bad approximation for the field environment.
    Keywords: ddc:330 ; Gruppenentscheidung ; Altersgruppe ; Kooperation ; Wettbewerb ; Risikopräferenz ; Arbeitsmarktdiskriminierung ; Alternde Bevölkerung ; Test ; Feldforschung ; Frankreich
    Language: English
    Type: doc-type:workingPaper
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  • 3
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    Bonn: Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA)
    Publication Date: 2015-05-22
    Description: We devise an experiment to explore the effect of different degrees of competition on optimal contracts in a hidden-information context. In our benchmark case, each principal is matched with one agent of unknown type. In our second treatment, a principal can select one of three agents, while in a third treatment an agent may choose between the contract menus offered by two principals. We first show theoretically how these different degrees of competition affect outcomes and efficiency. Informational asymmetries generate inefficiency. In an environment where principals compete against each other to hire agents, these inefficiencies remain. In contrast, when agents compete to be hired, efficiency improves dramatically, and it increases in the relative number of agents because competition reduces the agents' informational monopoly power. However, this environment also generates a high inequality level and is characterized by multiple equilibria. In general, there is a fairly high degree of correspondence between the theoretical predictions and the contract menus actually chosen in each treatment. There is, however, a tendency to choose more 'generous' (and more efficient) contract menus over time. Competition leads to a substantially higher probability of trade, and that, overall, competition between agents generates the most efficient outcomes
    Keywords: ddc:330 ; Arbeitsvertrag ; Vertragstheorie ; Unvollkommene Information ; Wettbewerb ; Test ; Theorie
    Language: English
    Type: doc-type:workingPaper
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  • 4
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    Baltimore, MD: The Johns Hopkins University, Department of Economics
    Publication Date: 2018-07-02
    Description: This paper reports the results of a series of experiments designed to test whether and to what extent individuals succumb to the conjunction fallacy. Using an experimental design of Kahneman and Tversky (1983), it finds that given mild incentives, the proportion of individuals who violate the conjunction principle is significantly lower than that reported by Kahneman and Tversky. Moreover, when subjects are allowed to consult with other subjects, these proportions fall dramatically, particularly when the size of the group rises from two to three. These findings cast serious doubts about the importance and robustness of such violations for the understanding of real-life economic decisions.
    Keywords: ddc:330 ; Conjunction fallacy ; representativeness bias ; group consultation ; incentives ; Entscheidung bei Unsicherheit ; Rationales Verhalten ; Wahrscheinlichkeitsrechnung ; Test
    Language: English
    Type: doc-type:workingPaper
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  • 5
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    Bonn: Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA)
    Publication Date: 2018-11-15
    Description: The 'ratchet effect' refers to a situation where a principal uses private information that is revealed by an agent's early actions to the agent's later disadvantage, in a context where binding multi-period contracts are not enforceable. In a simple, context-rich environment, we experimentally study the robustness of the ratchet effect to the introduction of ex post competition for principals or agents. While we do observe substantial and significant ratchet effects in the baseline (no competition) case of our model, we find that ratchet behavior is nearly eliminated by labor-market competition; interestingly this is true regardless of whether market conditions favor principals or agents.
    Keywords: C91 ; ddc:330 ; Ratchet effect ; competition ; experiment ; private information ; labor markets ; Agency Theory ; Asymmetrische Information ; Arbeitsmarkt ; Wettbewerb ; Test
    Language: English
    Type: doc-type:workingPaper
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  • 6
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    Bonn: Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA)
    Publication Date: 2018-11-15
    Description: In this paper, we investigate individuals' investment in status in an environment where no monetary return can possibly be derived from reaching a better relative position. We use a real-effort experiment in which we permit individuals to learn and potentially improve their status (rank). We find that people express both intrinsic motivation and a taste for status. Indeed, people increase their effort when they are simply informed about their relative performance, and people pay both to sabotage others' output and to artificially increase their own relative performance. In addition, stronger group identity favors positive rivalry and discourages sabotage among peers.
    Keywords: C91 ; C92 ; M54 ; D63 ; J28 ; J31 ; ddc:330 ; Status seeking ; rank ; competitive preferences ; experiment ; Sozialer Status ; Wettbewerb ; Präferenztheorie ; Leistungsmotivation ; Test
    Language: English
    Type: doc-type:workingPaper
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