Title page for ETD etd-11082011-152752

Type of Document Dissertation
Author Green, Ellen P
Author's Email Address econglet@vt.edu
URN etd-11082011-152752
Title A Study of Human Decision-Making in Economic Games
Degree PhD
Department Economics
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Ball, Sheryl B. Committee Chair
Ge, Suqin Committee Member
Macieira, Joao C. Committee Member
Tideman, Thorwald Nicolaus Committee Member
You, Wen Committee Member
  • Principal-agent theory
  • moral hazard
  • contract enforcement
  • reciprocity
  • altruism
  • other-regarding behavior
  • responsibility
  • intentionality
Date of Defense 2011-11-04
Availability unrestricted
This dissertation contains three essays on the impact of other-regarding behavior on human decision-making. Chapter II uses experimental methods to analyze the relative performance of a variety of compensation contracts. This study creates an environment in which individuals are paid via common payment mechanisms employed in the dual-principal agent relationships (Piece Rate, Flat Rate, Salary, Bonus and Socialization) and examines the effect that different incentive structures have on agent behavior. In Chapter III I explore the potential outcomes of blended payment structures in a dual-principal agent environment. I draw from the previously conducted experimental study in Chapter II and simulate agent behavior induced by blended payment mechanisms. In Chapter IV, I move away from studying payment mechanisms to investigate the impact of intentionality and responsibility on an individual’s decision-making process. I explore the effects of direct and indirect responsibility as well as selfish and kind intentions using experimental methodology. Each of these essays provides further evidence that other-regarding behavior has a significant impact on the outcome of an economic situation; therefore, emphasizing the need to address such behavior in theoretical designs.
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