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NBER Working Papers and Publications
|July 2009||Investment Tournaments: When Should a Rational Agent Put All Eggs in One Basket?|
with Michael Schwarz: w15136
In this paper we study "investment tournaments," a class of decision problems that involve gradual allocation of investment among several alternatives whose values are subject to exogenous shocks. The decision-maker's payoff is determined by the final values of the alternatives. An important example of career tournaments motivating our research is the career choice problem, since a person choosing a career often starts by investing in learning several professions. We show that in a broad range of cases it is optimal for the decision-maker in each time period to allocate all resources to the most promising alternative. We also show that in tournaments for a promotion the agents would rationally put forth a higher effort in an early stage of the tournament in a bid to capture a larger share ...
|July 2000||Bequests as Signals: An Explanation for the Equal Division Puzzle|
with B. Douglas Bernheim: w7791
In the United States, more than two-thirds of decedents with multichild families divide their estates exactly equally among their children. In contrast, intra vivos gifts are usually unequal. These findings challenge the validity of existing theories regarding the determination of intergenerational transfers. In this paper, we develop a theory that accounts for this puzzle, based on the notion that the division of bequests provides a signal about a parent's altruistic preferences. The theory can also explain the norm of unigeniture, which prevails in other societies.
Published: Bernheim, B. Douglas and Sergei Severinov. "Bequests As Signals: An Explanation For The Equal Division Puzzle," Journal of Political Economy, 2003, v111(4,Aug), 733-764. citation courtesy of