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Managerial Incentives and Capital Management

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  • Holmstrom, Bengt
  • Ricart i Costa, Joan

Abstract

In Holmstrom (1982) an example is given, which shows that a manager's concern for the value of his human capital will lead to a natural incongruity in risk-preferences between himself and the owners, even when no effort considerations are involved. In this paper we present a formal model of this channel of incongruity based on learning about managerial talent. We also explore the nature of an optimal incentive contract in the case where the manager may withhold but not misrepresent information about investment returns. The optimal contract is an option on the manager's human capital value with a possible bonus for investing. The optimal investment rule accepts fewer investments than under the cost of capital -- a commonly observed real world feature. Another phenomena the model helps explain is the extensive use of capital budgeting and rationing schemes in place of linear or non-linear price decentralization, which are shown to be less efficient modes of allocation.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by MIT Press in its journal Quarterly Journal of Economics.

Volume (Year): 101 (1986)
Issue (Month): 4 (November)
Pages: 835-60

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Handle: RePEc:tpr:qjecon:v:101:y:1986:i:4:p:835-60

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  1. Sanford J Grossman & Oliver D Hart, 2001. "An Analysis of the Principal-Agent Problem," Levine's Working Paper Archive 391749000000000339, David K. Levine.
  2. Harris, Milton & Holstrom, Bengt, 1982. "A Theory of Wage Dynamics," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 49(3), pages 315-33, July.
  3. Holmstrom, Bengt R & Weiss, Laurence, 1985. "Managerial Incentives, Investment, and Aggregate Implications: Scale Effects," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 52(3), pages 403-25, July.
  4. Ross, Stephen A, 1973. "The Economic Theory of Agency: The Principal's Problem," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 63(2), pages 134-39, May.
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