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Leading Indicator Variables, Performance Measurement and Long-Term versus Short-Term Contracts

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  • Dutta, Sunil

    (U of California, Berkeley)

  • Reichelstein, Stefan J.

    (Stanford U)

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    Abstract

    This paper develops a multiperiod agency model to study the use of leading indicator variables in managerial performance measures. In addition to the familiar moral hazard problem, the principal faces the task of motivating a manager to undertake "soft" investments. These investments are not directly contractible, but the principal can instead rely on leading indicator variables which provide a noisy forecast of the investment returns to be received in future periods. Our analysis relates the role of leading indicator variables to the duration of the manager's incentive contract. With short-term contracts, leading indicator variables are essential in mitigating a hold up problem resulting from the fact that investments are sunk at the end of the first period. With long-term contracts, leading indicator variables will be valuable if the manager's compensation schemes are not stationary over time. The leading indicator variables then become an instrument for matching the future investment return with the current investment expenditure. We identify conditions under which the optimal long-term contract induces larger investments and less reliance on the leading indicator variables in comparison to short-term contracts. Under certain conditions, though, the principal does better with sequence of one-period contracts than with a long-term contract.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Stanford University, Graduate School of Business in its series Research Papers with number 1756.

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    Date of creation: Jun 2002
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    Handle: RePEc:ecl:stabus:1756

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    1. Lucian Arye Bebchuk & Jesse M. Fried & David I. Walker, 2001. "Executive Compensation in America: Optimal Contracting or Extraction of Rents?," NBER Working Papers 8661, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Fudenberg, Drew & Holmstrom, Bengt & Milgrom, Paul, 1990. "Short-term contracts and long-term agency relationships," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 51(1), pages 1-31, June.
    3. Chiappori, P.A. & Macho, I. & Rey, P. & SalaniƩ, B., 1989. "Repeated Moral Hazard: The Role of Memory, Commitment, and the Access to Credit Markets," DELTA Working Papers 89-18, DELTA (Ecole normale supƩrieure).
    4. Jensen, M.C. & Murphy, K.J., 1988. "Performance Pay And Top Management Incentives," Papers 88-04, Rochester, Business - Managerial Economics Research Center.
    5. Drew Fudenberg & Jean Tirole, 1988. "Moral Hazard and Renegotiation in Agency Contracts," Working papers 494, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
    6. Kim, Oliver & Suh, Yoon, 1993. "Incentive efficiency of compensation based on accounting and market performance," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 16(1-3), pages 25-53, April.
    7. John R. Hauser & Duncan I. Simester & Birger Wernerfelt, 1994. "Customer Satisfaction Incentives," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 13(4), pages 327-350.
    8. Dirk Sliwka, 2001. "On the Use of Nonfinancial Performance Measures in Management Compensation," Bonn Econ Discussion Papers bgse29_2001, University of Bonn, Germany.
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