IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

Using Cost Observation To Regulate A Manager Who Has A Preference For Empire‐Building




We study regulation of a manager who has a preference for empire-building (high output), in the presence of moral hazard (unobservable effort) and adverse selection (unobservable productivity). We find that the optimal contract is linear in cost, being composed by a fixed payment plus a partial cost reimbursement. The preference for higher output reduces the manager's tendency to announce that his or her productivity is low, allowing a more powered incentive scheme (a lower fraction of the cost is reimbursed), which alleviates the problem of moral hazard.

Suggested Citation

  • Ana Pinto Borges & João Correia‐Da‐Silva, 2011. "Using Cost Observation To Regulate A Manager Who Has A Preference For Empire‐Building," Manchester School, University of Manchester, vol. 79(1), pages 29-44, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:manchs:v:79:y:2011:i:1:p:29-44

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Myerson, Roger B, 1979. "Incentive Compatibility and the Bargaining Problem," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 47(1), pages 61-73, January.
    2. Jensen, Michael C, 1986. "Agency Costs of Free Cash Flow, Corporate Finance, and Takeovers," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(2), pages 323-329, May.
    3. Guesnerie, Roger & Laffont, Jean-Jacques, 1984. "A complete solution to a class of principal-agent problems with an application to the control of a self-managed firm," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 25(3), pages 329-369, December.
    4. Fershtman, Chaim & Judd, Kenneth L, 1987. "Equilibrium Incentives in Oligopoly," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(5), pages 927-940, December.
    5. Raj Chetty & Emmanuel Saez, 2005. "Dividend Taxes and Corporate Behavior: Evidence from the 2003 Dividend Tax Cut," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 120(3), pages 791-833.
    6. Grossman, Sanford J. & Hart, Oliver D., 1988. "One share-one vote and the market for corporate control," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 20(1-2), pages 175-202, January.
    7. Kanniainen, Vesa, 2000. "Empire building by corporate managers:: the corporation as a savings instrument," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 24(1), pages 127-142, January.
    8. Jean-Jacques Laffont & Jean Tirole, 1993. "A Theory of Incentives in Procurement and Regulation," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262121743, July.
    9. Steven D. Sklivas, 1987. "The Strategic Choice of Managerial Incentives," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 18(3), pages 452-458, Autumn.
    10. Li, David D & Li, Shan, 1996. " A Theory of Corporate Scope and Financial Structure," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 51(2), pages 691-709, June.
    11. Laffont, Jean-Jacques & Tirole, Jean, 1986. "Using Cost Observation to Regulate Firms," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 94(3), pages 614-641, June.
    12. Michael C. Jensen, 2010. "The Modern Industrial Revolution, Exit, and the Failure of Internal Control Systems," Journal of Applied Corporate Finance, Morgan Stanley, vol. 22(1), pages 43-58.
    13. Canice Prendergast, 2007. "The Motivation and Bias of Bureaucrats," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(1), pages 180-196, March.
    14. Jeffrey R. Brown & Nellie Liang & Scott Weisbenner, 2007. "Executive Financial Incentives and Payout Policy: Firm Responses to the 2003 Dividend Tax Cut," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 62(4), pages 1935-1965, August.
    15. Eric Maskin & John Riley, 1984. "Monopoly with Incomplete Information," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 15(2), pages 171-196, Summer.
    16. Zwiebel, Jeffrey, 1996. "Dynamic Capital Structure under Managerial Entrenchment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(5), pages 1197-1215, December.
    17. Harris, Milton & Raviv, Artur, 1996. " The Capital Budgeting Process: Incentives and Information," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 51(4), pages 1139-1174, September.
    18. Stulz, ReneM., 1990. "Managerial discretion and optimal financing policies," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 26(1), pages 3-27, July.
    19. Hart, Oliver & Moore, John, 1995. "Debt and Seniority: An Analysis of the Role of Hard Claims in Constraining Management," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(3), pages 567-585, June.
    20. David P. Baron & David Besanko, 1984. "Regulation, Asymmetric Information, and Auditing," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 15(4), pages 447-470, Winter.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Ana Borges & João Correia-da-Silva & Didier Laussel, 2014. "Regulating a manager whose empire-building preferences are private information," Journal of Economics, Springer, vol. 111(2), pages 105-130, March.
    2. Ana Pinto Borges & Didier Laussel & João Correia-da-Silva, 2013. "Multidimensional Screening with Complementary Activities: Regulating a Monopolist with Unknown Cost and Unknown Preference for Empire Building," Games, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 4(3), pages 1-29, September.

    More about this item


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:bla:manchs:v:79:y:2011:i:1:p:29-44. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Wiley-Blackwell Digital Licensing) or (Christopher F. Baum). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.