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Agency and the Pace of Adoption of New Techniques

  • Ronald W. Anderson
  • Kjell G. Nyborg

We study the relation of financial contracting and the pace of technological advance in a dynamic agency theoretic model. A firm which is financed by outside shareholders but run by managers has the prospect of a process innovation which arrives stochastically. Adopting the innovation requires firing old management and hiring new with skills appropriate for the new technique. We show that subgame perfect equilibria in this game can be of two types. In "entrenchment" equilibrium once the new technique has been announced old style management raises their dividend payout sufficiently to preempt the innovation. In "maximum rent extraction" equilibrium' managers are unable or unwilling to match the impending productivity improvement and instead respond by increasing their perquisites for the remaining time of their tenure. We show that both equilibria involve several types of inefficiencies and can resuit in underinvestment in positive NPV projects. We discuss the role of financial innovation in reducing the inefficiencies identified.

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Article provided by De Boeck Université in its journal Recherches économiques de Louvain.

Volume (Year): 68 (2002)
Issue (Month): 1 ()
Pages: 203-220

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Handle: RePEc:cai:reldbu:rel_681_0203
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  1. Greenwood, J. & Jovanovic, B., 1990. "Financial Development, Growth, And The Distribution Of Income," University of Western Ontario, The Centre for the Study of International Economic Relations Working Papers 9002, University of Western Ontario, The Centre for the Study of International Economic Relations.
  2. Bart Hobijn & Boyan Jovanovic, 2000. "The Information Technology Revolution and the Stock Market: Evidence," NBER Working Papers 7684, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Rajan, Raghuram G & Zingales, Luigi, 1998. "Financial Dependence and Growth," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(3), pages 559-86, June.
  4. Ronald W. Anderson & Kjell G. Nyborg, 2001. "Financial development, agency and the pace of adoption of new techniques," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 25065, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  5. La Porta, Rafael & Lopez-de-Silanes, Florencio & Shleifer, Andrei & Vishny, Robert W., 1998. "Law and Finance," Scholarly Articles 3451310, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  6. Ron Anderson & Kjell G. Nyborg, 2001. "Financing and Corporate Growth under Repeated Moral Hazard," FMG Discussion Papers dp376, Financial Markets Group.
  7. Banerjee, Abhijit V & Newman, Andrew F, 1991. "Risk-Bearing and the Theory of Income Distribution," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 58(2), pages 211-35, April.
  8. Aghion, Philippe & Bolton, Patrick, 1992. "Distribution and growth in models of imperfect capital markets," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 36(2-3), pages 603-611, April.
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