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Optimal Contracting with Moral Hazard and Cascading

  • Khanna, Naveen
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    In this article I identify optimal incentive contracts for managers of firms competing in the product market. Such firms often confront similar decisions and uncertainties. Managers can improve decision quality by generating private signals through costly effort. However, since signals are likely to be correlated, firms that decide later get additional information from the actions of earlier firms. This impacts effort choice. Decision quality is also affected if later managers disregard their own signals and blindly imitate preceding decisions. In a competitive environment, such cascading hurts profits. Contracts that solve both moral hazard and cascading problems typically put more weight on firm profits, making them expensive. Contacts with more weight on decision quality are less expensive but result in cascades. Shareholders choose contracts that maximize their net surplus. This results in testable implications about which industries may have more convergence in investment choices, greater pay-for-profit sensitivity, larger differences in observed contracts, more innovation, larger-size firms, and potential for overcompensation. Article published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Society for Financial Studies in its journal, The Review of Financial Studies.

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    Article provided by Society for Financial Studies in its journal Review of Financial Studies.

    Volume (Year): 11 (1998)
    Issue (Month): 3 ()
    Pages: 559-96

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    Handle: RePEc:oup:rfinst:v:11:y:1998:i:3:p:559-96
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