Delegated Decision Making and Social Competition in the Finance Industry
54 Pages Posted: 24 May 2018 Last revised: 19 Apr 2019
Date Written: April 1, 2019
Two aspects of social context are central to the finance industry. First, financial professionals usually make investment decisions on behalf of third parties. Second, social competition, in the form of performance rankings, is pervasive. Therefore, we investigate professionals’ risk-taking behavior under social competition when investing for others. We run online and lab-in-the-field experiments with 965 financial professionals and show that professionals increase their risk taking for others when they lag behind. This effect, however, disappears when professionals’ incentives are flat. Additional survey evidence from 1,349 respondents reveals that professionals’ preferences for high rankings are significantly stronger than the general population’s.
Keywords: experimental finance, behavioral finance, social competition, rank incentives, financial professionals, delegated decision making, investment game, lab-in-the-field experiment
JEL Classification: G02, G11, D03, C93
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