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We test for social norms regarding how agents should select between risky prospects for principals, including norms consistent with beneficence and justice propositions from Adam Smith. We elicit norms from subjects serving as "impartial spectator[s]" about choice of risky prospect selected by the agents. We find strong evidence for the existence of norms, consistent with the Smith propositions. Furthermore we find that agents are more likely to select more normative options. In contrast, we find that principals' allocation for bonuses depends on the realization of the risky prospect rather than whether the agents choice was consistent with the norm.

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Social norms, Decisions-making for others, Laboratory experiments, Principal-Agent, Decision-making under risk


Econometrics | Economic Theory | Other Economics


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The corresponding article was written for a special issue of the Journal of Behavioral Finance, which commemorates Vernon Smith's 95th birthday edited by David Porter and Mark De Santis.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 4.0 License.

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