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Optimal Executive Compensation when Firm Size Follows Geometric Brownian Motion

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  • Zhiguo He

Abstract

This paper studies a continuous-time agency model in which the agent controls the drift of the geometric Brownian motion firm size. The changing firm size generates partial incentives, analogous to awarding the agent equity shares according to her continuation payoff. When the agent is as patient as investors, performance-based stock grants implement the optimal contract. Our model generates a leverage effect on the equity returns, and implies that the agency problem is more severe for smaller firms. That the empirical evidence shows that grants compensation are largely based on the CEO's historical performance--rather than current performance--lends support to our model. The Author 2008. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of The Society for Financial Studies. All rights reserved. For Permissions, please e-mail: journals.permissions@oxfordjournals.org., Oxford University Press.

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  • Zhiguo He, 2009. "Optimal Executive Compensation when Firm Size Follows Geometric Brownian Motion," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 22(2), pages 859-892, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:rfinst:v:22:y:2009:i:2:p:859-892
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