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Risk and CEO Market: Why Do Some Large Firms Hire Highly-Paid, Low-Talent CEOs?

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Author Info

  • Edmans, Alex

    (University of PA)

  • Gabaix, Xavier

    (NYU)

Abstract

This paper presents a market equilibrium model of CEO assignment, pay and incentives under risk aversion and heterogeneous moral hazard. Each of the three outcomes can be summarized by a single closed-form equation. In assignment models without moral hazard, allocation depends only on firm size and the equilibrium is efficient. Here, talent assignment is distorted by the agency problem as firms involving higher risk or disutility choose less talented CEOs. Such firms also pay higher salaries in the cross-section, but economy-wide increases in risk or the disutility of being a CEO (e.g. due to regulation) do not affect pay. The strength of incentives depends only on the disutility of effort and is independent of risk and risk aversion. If the CEO affects the volatility as well as mean of firm returns, incentives rise and are increasing in risk and risk aversion. We calibrate the efficiency losses from various forms of poor corporate governance, such as failures in monitoring and inefficiencies in CEO assignment. The losses from misallocation of talent are orders of magnitude higher than from inefficient risk-sharing.

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File URL: http://fic.wharton.upenn.edu/fic/papers/10/10-17.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University of Pennsylvania, Wharton School, Weiss Center in its series Working Papers with number 10-17.

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Date of creation: May 2010
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Handle: RePEc:ecl:upafin:10-17

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References

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  1. Edmans, Alex & Gabaix, Xavier, 2009. "Tractability in Incentive Contracting," CEPR Discussion Papers 7578, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. Alex Edmans & Xavier Gabaix & Augustin Landier, 2009. "A Multiplicative Model of Optimal CEO Incentives in Market Equilibrium," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 22(12), pages 4881-4917, December.
  3. Gibbons, R. & Murphy, K.J., 1990. "Optimal Incentive Contracts In The Presence Of Career Concerns: Theory And Evidence," Working papers 563, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  4. Benjamin E. Hermalin, 2005. "Trends in Corporate Governance," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 60(5), pages 2351-2384, October.
  5. Eisfeldt, Andrea & Kuhnen, Camelia M., 2010. "CEO turnover in a competitive assignment framework," MPRA Paper 22367, University Library of Munich, Germany.
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  7. Ingolf Dittmann & Ernst Maug, 2007. "Lower Salaries and No Options? On the Optimal Structure of Executive Pay," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 62(1), pages 303-343, 02.
  8. Core, John & Guay, Wayne, 1999. "The use of equity grants to manage optimal equity incentive levels," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 28(2), pages 151-184, December.
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  11. Xavier Gabaix & Augustin Landier, 2006. "Why Has CEO Pay Increased So Much?," 2006 Meeting Papers 518, Society for Economic Dynamics.
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  17. Maug, Ernst & Dittmann, Ingolf, 2007. "Lower Salaries and No Options: The Optimal Structure of Executive Pay," Sonderforschungsbereich 504 Publications 07-41, Sonderforschungsbereich 504, Universit├Ąt Mannheim & Sonderforschungsbereich 504, University of Mannheim.
  18. Peter M. DeMarzo & Michael J. Fishman, 2007. "Optimal Long-Term Financial Contracting," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 20(6), pages 2079-2128, November.
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  22. Yuk Ying Chang & Sudipto Dasgupta & Gilles Hilary, 2010. "CEO Ability, Pay, and Firm Performance," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 56(10), pages 1633-1652, October.
  23. Demsetz, Harold & Lehn, Kenneth, 1985. "The Structure of Corporate Ownership: Causes and Consequences," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 93(6), pages 1155-77, December.
  24. Sappington, David, 1983. "Limited liability contracts between principal and agent," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 29(1), pages 1-21, February.
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Cited by:
  1. Dittmann, Ingolf & Maug, Ernst & Zhang, Dan, 2011. "Restricting CEO pay," Journal of Corporate Finance, Elsevier, vol. 17(4), pages 1200-1220, September.

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