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The Degradation of Distorted Performance Measures

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  • Randolph Sloof

    ()
    (University of Amsterdam, and IZA)

  • Mirjam van Praag

    ()
    (University of Amsterdam, IZA, and Max Planck Institute of Economics)

Abstract

Baker (2002) has demonstrated theoretically that the quality of performance measures used in compensation contracts hinges on two characteristics: noise and distortion. These criteria, though, will only be useful in practice as long as the noise and distortion of a performance measure can be measured. Courty and Marschke (2007) have recently developed an elegant empirical test to detect distortion, based on the degradation of a performance measure subsequent to increasing its weight in the remuneration contract. We apply their test to assess the distortion of the often used class of performance measures that are based on ‘Residual Income’ (RI), such as ‘Economic Value Added’ (EVA). Residual income is widely used to measure and reward the performance of management boards. We use a difference-in-difference approach to account for (a) changes in economic circumstances in the period studied and (b) the self-selection of firms into the treatment and the control groups. Our results show that RI has degraded and is, therefore, a distortionary performance measure that can be gamed. Conditionally accepted for publication in the Journal of Law, Economics and Organization .

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Tinbergen Institute in its series Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers with number 08-072/3.

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Date of creation: 12 Aug 2008
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Handle: RePEc:dgr:uvatin:20080072

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Web page: http://www.tinbergen.nl

Related research

Keywords: Residual income; EVA; degradation; distortion; performance measurement; management compensation; incentive compensation;

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References

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  1. Coles, Jeffrey L. & Daniel, Naveen D. & Naveen, Lalitha, 2006. "Managerial incentives and risk-taking," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 79(2), pages 431-468, February.
  2. Cramer, J S, 1973. "Interaction of Income and Price in Consumer Demand," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 14(2), pages 351-63, June.
  3. Biddle, Gary C. & Bowen, Robert M. & Wallace, James S., 1997. "Does EVA(R) beat earnings? Evidence on associations with stock returns and firm values," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 24(3), pages 301-336, December.
  4. George Baker, 2002. "Distortion and Risk in Optimal Incentive Contracts," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 37(4), pages 728-751.
  5. Rogerson, William P, 1997. "Intertemporal Cost Allocation and Managerial Investment Incentives: A Theory Explaining the Use of Economic Value Added as a Performance Measure," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 105(4), pages 770-95, August.
  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. Brian J. Hall & Jeffrey B. Liebman, 1997. "Are CEOs Really Paid Like Bureaucrats?," NBER Working Papers 6213, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Dimitris Kyriazis & Christos Anastassis, 2007. "The Validity of the Economic Value Added Approach: an Empirical Application," European Financial Management, European Financial Management Association, vol. 13(1), pages 71-100.
  9. Ahmad Ismail, 2006. "Is economic value added more associated with stock return than accounting earnings? The UK evidence," International Journal of Managerial Finance, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 2(4), pages 343-353, September.
  10. Fama, Eugene F & French, Kenneth R, 1996. " The CAPM Is Wanted, Dead or Alive," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 51(5), pages 1947-58, December.
  11. Pascal Courty & Gerald Marschke, 2008. "A General Test for Distortions in Performance Measures," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 90(3), pages 428-441, August.
  12. Baker, George P, 1992. "Incentive Contracts and Performance Measurement," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(3), pages 598-614, June.
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