The Role of Risk in Contract Choice
Posted: 29 Nov 1999
Structuring contracts to share risk in light of incentive problems is the central premise of contract theory, yet the risk-sharing implications have rarely been thoroughly tested using micro-level contract data. In this article we test the major implications of a principal-agent model of contracts using detailed data on more than 4000 individual contracts from modern North American agriculture. On a case-by-case basis, our evidence fails to support the standard principal-agent model with risk aversion as an explanation of contract choice in modern North American farming. At the same time, we find some support for models that assume risk-neutral contracting parties and stress multiple margins for moral hazard and enforcement costs.
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