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Has Moral Hazard Become a More Important Factor in Managerial Compensation?

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  • George-Levi Gayle
  • Robert A. Miller

Abstract

We estimate a principal-agent model of moral hazard with longitudinal data on firms and managerial compensation over two disjoint periods spanning 60 years to investigate increased value and variability in managerial compensation. We find exogenous growth in firm size largely explains these secular trends in compensation. In our framework, exogenous firm size works through two channels. First, conflicts of interest between shareholders and managers are magnified in large firms, so optimal compensation plans are now more closely linked to insider wealth. Second, the market for managers has become more differentiated, increasing the premium paid to managers of large versus small firms. (JEL D82, L25, M12, M52)

Suggested Citation

  • George-Levi Gayle & Robert A. Miller, 2009. "Has Moral Hazard Become a More Important Factor in Managerial Compensation?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(5), pages 1740-1769, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:99:y:2009:i:5:p:1740-69
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/aer.99.5.1740
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design
    • L25 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Firm Performance
    • M12 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Business Administration - - - Personnel Management; Executives; Executive Compensation
    • M52 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Personnel Economics - - - Compensation and Compensation Methods and Their Effects

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    1. Has Moral Hazard Become a More Important Factor in Managerial Compensation? (AER 2009) in ReplicationWiki

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