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Product market competition and organizational slack under profit-target contracts

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Author Info

  • Piccolo, Salvatore
  • D'Amato, Marcello
  • Martina, Riccardo

Abstract

In a framework à la Martin (1993) we introduce a common component in the managers' private information in order to address three related questions: What is the impact of contracts that reward managers on the basis of realized profits on firms' productive and allocative efficiency relative to cost-target contracts? How do these contracts shape the relationship between competition and organizational slack? Can we then explain the existing evidence of an inverted-U shaped relationship between competition and cost-reducing activities, as documented in Aghion et al. [Aghion, P., Bloom, N., Blundell, R., Griffith, R., Howitt, P., "Competition and innovation: an inverted-U Relationship", The Quarterly Journal of Economics, 120: pp. 701-728, 2005]? We show that profit-target contracts introduce a horizontal (contractual) externality between the competing firms that mitigates organizational slack and improves upon productive efficiency relative to cost-plus mechanisms. Moreover, when executive compensations are conditioned on profits, an inverted-U shaped relationship between product market competition and managerial effort obtains. Finally, we also show that when contractual instruments are endogenous, i.e., when shareholders can choose between profit- and cost-target rules, the equilibrium with profit-target contracts always exists and is the only one that survives to standard refinements.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal International Journal of Industrial Organization.

Volume (Year): 26 (2008)
Issue (Month): 6 (November)
Pages: 1389-1406

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Handle: RePEc:eee:indorg:v:26:y:2008:i:6:p:1389-1406

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Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/505551

Related research

Keywords: Competing-contracts Product market competition X-inefficiency;

References

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  1. Tangeras, T.P., 1999. "Collusion-Proof Yardstick Competition," Papers 674, Stockholm - International Economic Studies.
  2. Boyer, Marcel & Laffont, Jean-Jacques, 2003. "Competition and the reform of incentive schemes in the regulated sector," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 87(9-10), pages 2369-2396, September.
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  5. Michael L. Katz, 1991. "Game-Playing Agents: Unobservable Contracts as Precommitments," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 22(3), pages 307-328, Autumn.
  6. Salvatore Piccolo & David Martimort, 2003. "Resale Price Maintenance under Asymmetric Information," CSEF Working Papers 107, Centre for Studies in Economics and Finance (CSEF), University of Naples, Italy, revised 01 Apr 2007.
  7. Nickell, Stephen J, 1996. "Competition and Corporate Performance," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 104(4), pages 724-46, August.
  8. Jean-Jacques Laffont & David Martimort, 2000. "Mechanism Design with Collusion and Correlation," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 68(2), pages 309-342, March.
  9. Stennek, Johan, 2000. "Competition increases x-efficiency: A limited liability mechanism," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 44(9), pages 1727-1744, October.
  10. Schmidt, Klaus M., 1996. "Managerial Incentives and Product Market Competition," CEPR Discussion Papers 1382, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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  12. Laffont, Jean-Jacques & Tirole, Jean, 1986. "Using Cost Observation to Regulate Firms," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 94(3), pages 614-41, June.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Jun Chen & Zhiqi Chen, 2011. "The quiet life of a monopolist: The efficiency losses of monopoly reconsidered," Frontiers of Economics in China, Springer, vol. 6(3), pages 389-412, September.
  2. Michela Cella & Federico Etro, 2010. "Oligopolistic Screening and Two-way Distortion," Working Papers 2010_28, Department of Economics, University of Venice "Ca' Foscari".
  3. Salvatore Piccolo & Emanuele Tarantino, 2011. "Managerial Compensations and Information Sharing under Moral Hazard: Is Transparency Good?," CSEF Working Papers 294, Centre for Studies in Economics and Finance (CSEF), University of Naples, Italy.
  4. Lacetera, Nicola & Zirulia, Lorenzo, 2012. "Individual preferences, organization, and competition in a model of R&D incentive provision," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 84(2), pages 550-570.

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