Monday, 17 December 2007

Incentives matter: history file

The province of Canterbury in New Zealand was founded by a private company, The Canterbury Association, headed by Edward Gibbon Wakefield and John Robert Godley. The Association sent four ships from England to the port of Lyttelton for the settlement of Canterbury and its main town, Christchurch. The Association paid for a chaplain, a surgeon and a schoolmaster for each of the ships. The interesting point of the doctor's contract is that he received 10 shillings for every passenger who arrived safely at Lyttelton, but had to pay back 20 shillings for every passenger who died. Moral hazard was recognised even in 1850.

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