IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

Corporate fraud and investment distortions in efficient capital markets


  • Praveen Kumar
  • Nisan Langberg


Inefficient investment allocation induced by corporate fraud, where informed insiders strategically manipulate outside investors' beliefs, has been endemic historically and has recently attracted much attention. We reconcile corporate fraud and investment distortions with efficient capital markets, building on shareholder-manager agency conflicts and investment renegotiation in active takeover markets. Because investments that are ex post inefficient are not renegotiation proof, the optimal renegotiation-proof contract induces overstatements by managers, accompanied by overinvestment in low return states and underinvestment in high return states by rational investors. Our framework also helps explain why easy access to external capital appears to facilitate corporate fraud. Copyright (c) 2009, RAND.

Suggested Citation

  • Praveen Kumar & Nisan Langberg, 2009. "Corporate fraud and investment distortions in efficient capital markets," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 40(1), pages 144-172.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:randje:v:40:y:2009:i:1:p:144-172

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    File Function: link to full text
    Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Laffont, Jean-Jacques & Tirole, Jean, 1987. "Comparative statics of the optimal dynamic incentive contract," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 31(4), pages 901-926, June.
    2. repec:bla:joares:v:26:y:1988:i:2:p:195-235 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Myers, Stewart C. & Majluf, Nicolás S., 1945-, 1984. "Corporate financing and investment decisions when firms have information that investors do not have," Working papers 1523-84., Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Sloan School of Management.
    4. Stewart C. Myers & Nicholas S. Majluf, 1984. "Corporate Financing and Investment Decisions When Firms Have InformationThat Investors Do Not Have," NBER Working Papers 1396, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Burns, Natasha & Kedia, Simi, 2006. "The impact of performance-based compensation on misreporting," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 79(1), pages 35-67, January.
    6. Myers, Stewart C. & Majluf, Nicholas S., 1984. "Corporate financing and investment decisions when firms have information that investors do not have," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 13(2), pages 187-221, June.
    7. Gary S. Becker, 1974. "Crime and Punishment: An Economic Approach," NBER Chapters,in: Essays in the Economics of Crime and Punishment, pages 1-54 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Eisfeldt, Andrea L. & Rampini, Adriano A., 2008. "Managerial incentives, capital reallocation, and the business cycle," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 87(1), pages 177-199, January.
    9. Jean-Jacques Laffont & Jean Tirole, 1990. "Adverse Selection and Renegotiation in Procurement," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 57(4), pages 597-625.
    10. Peter DeMarzo & Darrell Duffie, 1999. "A Liquidity-Based Model of Security Design," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 67(1), pages 65-100, January.
    11. Fudenberg, Drew & Tirole, Jean, 1990. "Moral Hazard and Renegotiation in Agency Contracts," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 58(6), pages 1279-1319, November.
    12. Mathias Dewatripont, 1988. "Commitment Through Renegotiation-Proof Contracts with Third Parties," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 55(3), pages 377-390.
    13. Jensen, Michael C. & Meckling, William H., 1976. "Theory of the firm: Managerial behavior, agency costs and ownership structure," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 3(4), pages 305-360, October.
    14. Françoise Forges, 1990. "Equilibria with Communication in a Job Market Example," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 105(2), pages 375-398.
    15. Grossman, Sanford J & Hart, Oliver D, 1986. "The Costs and Benefits of Ownership: A Theory of Vertical and Lateral Integration," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 94(4), pages 691-719, August.
    16. Paul Gompers & Joy Ishii & Andrew Metrick, 2003. "Corporate Governance and Equity Prices," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 118(1), pages 107-156.
    17. M. Dewatripont & E. Maskin, 1995. "Contractual Contingencies and Renegotiation," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 26(4), pages 704-719, Winter.
    18. Innes, Robert D., 1990. "Limited liability and incentive contracting with ex-ante action choices," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 52(1), pages 45-67, October.
    19. Jeremy C. Stein, 1989. "Efficient Capital Markets, Inefficient Firms: A Model of Myopic Corporate Behavior," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 104(4), pages 655-669.
    20. Stulz, ReneM., 1990. "Managerial discretion and optimal financing policies," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 26(1), pages 3-27, July.
    21. Greenwald, Bruce & Stiglitz, Joseph E & Weiss, Andrew, 1984. "Informational Imperfections in the Capital Market and Macroeconomic Fluctuations," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 74(2), pages 194-199, May.
    22. Mathias Dewatripont, 1988. "Commitment through renegotiation-proof contacts with third parties," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/9569, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
    23. Bester, Helmut & Strausz, Roland, 2007. "Contracting with imperfect commitment and noisy communication," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 136(1), pages 236-259, September.
    24. Ernst-Ludwig von Thadden, 1995. "Long-Term Contracts, Short-Term Investment and Monitoring," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 62(4), pages 557-575.
    25. Nachman, David C & Noe, Thomas H, 1994. "Optimal Design of Securities under Asymmetric Information," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 7(1), pages 1-44.
    26. Laffont, Jean-Jacques & Tirole, Jean, 1988. "The Dynamics of Incentive Contracts," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 56(5), pages 1153-1175, September.
    27. C. Choe, 1998. "A mechanism design approach to an optimal contract under ex ante and ex post private information," Review of Economic Design, Springer;Society for Economic Design, vol. 3(3), pages 237-255.
    28. Shleifer, Andrei, 2000. "Inefficient Markets: An Introduction to Behavioral Finance," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198292272, June.
    29. Stefan Krasa & Anne P. Villamil, 2000. "Optimal Contracts when Enforcement Is a Decision Variable," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 68(1), pages 119-134, January.
    30. Crawford, Vincent P & Sobel, Joel, 1982. "Strategic Information Transmission," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(6), pages 1431-1451, November.
    31. Narayanan, M P, 1985. " Managerial Incentives for Short-term Results," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 40(5), pages 1469-1484, December.
    32. Patrick Bolton & Jose Scheinkman & Wei Xiong, 2005. "Pay for Short-Term Performance: Executive Compensation in Speculative," Levine's Bibliography 666156000000000673, UCLA Department of Economics.
    33. Stiglitz, Joseph E & Weiss, Andrew, 1983. "Incentive Effects of Terminations: Applications to the Credit and Labor Markets," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 73(5), pages 912-927, December.
    34. FORGES, Françoise, 1990. "Equilibria with communication in a job market example," CORE Discussion Papers RP 885, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
    35. Michael C. Jensen, 2005. "Agency Costs of Overvalued Equity," Financial Management, Financial Management Association, vol. 34(1), Spring.
    36. Myers, Stewart C., 1977. "Determinants of corporate borrowing," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 5(2), pages 147-175, November.
    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. Beatty, Anne & Liao, Scott & Yu, Jeff Jiewei, 2013. "The spillover effect of fraudulent financial reporting on peer firms' investments," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 55(2), pages 183-205.
    2. Yim, Andrew, 2013. "Mixture and Continuous 'Discontinuity' Hypotheses: An Earnings Management Model with Auditor-Required Adjustment," MPRA Paper 44702, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    3. Art Durnev & Sergei Guriev, 2011. "Resource Curse: A Corporate Transparency Channel," Sciences Po publications info:hdl:2441/5um2bhne3f8, Sciences Po.
    4. repec:eee:reveco:v:49:y:2017:i:c:p:190-210 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Kumar, Praveen & Langberg, Nisan, 2013. "Information manipulation and rational investment booms and busts," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 60(4), pages 408-425.

    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:randje:v:40:y:2009:i:1:p:144-172. 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.