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Tractability in Incentive Contracting

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  • Alex Edmans
  • Xavier Gabaix

Abstract

This article develops a framework that delivers tractable (i.e., closed-form) optimal contracts, with few restrictions on the utility function, cost of effort, or noise distribution. By modeling the noise before the action in each period, we force the contract to provide correct incentives state-by-state, rather than merely on average. This tightly constrains the set of admissible contracts and allows for a simple solution to the contracting problem. Our results continue to hold in continuous time, where noise and actions are simultaneous. We illustrate the potential usefulness of our setup by a series of examples related to CEO incentives. In particular, the model derives predictions for the optimal measure of incentives and whether the contract should be convex, concave, or linear. The Author 2011. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of The Society for Financial Studies. All rights reserved. For Permissions, please e-mail: journals.permissions@oup.com., Oxford University Press.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Society for Financial Studies in its journal Review of Financial Studies.

Volume (Year): 24 (2011)
Issue (Month): 9 ()
Pages: 2865-2894

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Handle: RePEc:oup:rfinst:v:24:y:2011:i:9:p:2865-2894

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  1. Maug, Ernst & Dittmann, Ingolf, 2007. "Lower Salaries and No Options: The Optimal Structure of Executive Pay," Sonderforschungsbereich 504 Publications 07-41, Sonderforschungsbereich 504, Universität Mannheim & Sonderforschungsbereich 504, University of Mannheim.
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  5. Bruno Biais & Thomas Mariotti & Guillaume Plantin & Jean-Charles Rochet, 2007. "Dynamic Security Design: Convergence to Continuous Time and Asset Pricing Implications," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 74(2), pages 345-390.
  6. Canice Prendergast, 2002. "The Tenuous Trade-off between Risk and Incentives," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 110(5), pages 1071-1102, October.
  7. Kremer, Michael, 1993. "The O-Ring Theory of Economic Development," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 108(3), pages 551-75, August.
  8. Brian J. Hall & Jeffrey B. Liebman, 1998. "Are CEOs Really Paid Like Bureaucrats?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 113(3), pages 653-691, August.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. George-Marios Angeletos & Alessandro Pavan, 2007. "Socially Optimal Coordination: Characterization and Policy Implications," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 5(2-3), pages 585-593, 04-05.
  2. Edmans, Alex & Gabaix, Xavier, 2010. "Risk and the CEO Market: Why Do Some Large Firms Hire Highly-Paid, Low-Talent CEOs?," CEPR Discussion Papers 7836, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  3. Edmans, Alex & Gabaix, Xavier, 2010. "Risk and CEO Market: Why Do Some Large Firms Hire Highly-Paid, Low-Talent CEOs?," Working Papers 10-17, University of Pennsylvania, Wharton School, Weiss Center.
  4. Edmans, Alex & Gabaix, Xavier & Sadzik, Tomasz & Sannikov, Yuliy, 2009. "Dynamic Incentive Accounts," CEPR Discussion Papers 7497, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  5. Laux, Volker, 2012. "Stock option vesting conditions, CEO turnover, and myopic investment," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 106(3), pages 513-526.
  6. Marco LiCalzi & Alessandro Pavan, 2002. "Tilting the Supply Schedule to Enhance Competition in Uniform- Price Auctions," Game Theory and Information 0210003, EconWPA.
  7. Daniel Garrett & Alessandro Pavan, 2010. "Managerial Turnover in a Changing World," Discussion Papers 1490, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  8. Chaigneau, Pierre, 2013. "Risk-shifting and the regulation of bank CEOs’ compensation," Journal of Financial Stability, Elsevier, vol. 9(4), pages 778-789.
  9. Pierre Chaigneau & Nicolas Sahuguet, 2014. "Explaining the Association between Monitoring and Controversial CEO Pay Practices: an Optimal Contracting Perspective," Cahiers de recherche 1406, CIRPEE.
  10. Zhiguo He & Si Li & Bin Wei & Jianfeng Yu, 2013. "Uncertainty, risk, and incentives: theory and evidence," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2013-18, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  11. Golman, Russell & Bhatia, Sudeep, 2012. "Performance evaluation inflation and compression," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 37(8), pages 534-543.

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