The abundance of electrons of 5-50 MeV energies relative to protons of similar energy has been determined in a total of 49 particle events of apparently solar origin during the year 1980. Most events with high electron abundances appear to have been produced by flares which also produced observable fluxes of gamma-rays. The overall distribution of abundances is consistent with that measured in 1968-1970 at similar energies, but is systematically lower in electron content than abundance distributions measured at lower energies. Electron-rich particle events have harder electron spectra than more normal events, and are never accompanied by strong interplanetary shocks. Therefore, an investigation is conducted to decide whether observations are consistent with models in which energetic particles are accelerated by a shock produced at the flare site. It is concluded that, in such models, the variable nature of the interplanetary particle events must reflect some fundamental but variable property of the shocks - possibly their direction of propagation. An outward moving shock may produce a particle event in interplanetary space whereas a shock directed toward the sun may produce a flux of particles in the lower solar atmosphere which generate the gamma-radiation.