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Intertemporal Cost Allocation and Investment Decisions

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  • William P. Rogerson

Abstract

This paper considers the profit-maximization problem of a firm that must make sunk investments in long-lived assets to produce output. It is shown that if per-period accounting income is calculated using a simple and natural allocation rule for investment, called the relative replacement cost (RRC) rule, under a broad range of plausible circumstances, the firm can choose the fully optimal sequence of investments over time simply by choosing a level of investment each period in order to maximize the next period's accounting income. Furthermore, in a model in which shareholders delegate the investment decision to a better-informed manager, it is shown that if accounting income based on the RRC allocation rule is used as a performance measure for the manager, robust incentives are created for the manager to choose the profit-maximizing sequence of investments, regardless of the manager's own personal discount rate or other aspects of the manager's personal preferences. (c) 2008 by The University of Chicago. All rights reserved.

Suggested Citation

  • William P. Rogerson, 2008. "Intertemporal Cost Allocation and Investment Decisions," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 116(5), pages 931-950, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:ucp:jpolec:v:116:y:2008:i:5:p:931-950
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    Cited by:

    1. Raith, Michael, 2012. "Optimal incentives and the time dimension of performance measurement," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 147(6), pages 2158-2189.
    2. repec:spr:reaccs:v:22:y:2017:i:3:d:10.1007_s11142-017-9402-6 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Küpper, Hans-Ulrich & Pedell, Burkhard, 2016. "Which asset valuation and depreciation method should be used for regulated utilities? An analytical and simulation-based comparison," Utilities Policy, Elsevier, vol. 40(C), pages 88-103.
    4. Alexander Nezlobin & Madhav V. Rajan & Stefan Reichelstein, 2012. "Dynamics of Rate-of-Return Regulation," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 58(5), pages 980-995, May.
    5. Reynaud, Arnaud & Thomas, Alban, 2013. "Firm's profitability and regulation in water and network industries: An empirical analysis," Utilities Policy, Elsevier, vol. 24(C), pages 48-58.
    6. Alexander Nezlobin & Madhav V. Rajan & Stefan Reichelstein, 2016. "Structural properties of the price-to-earnings and price-to-book ratios," Review of Accounting Studies, Springer, vol. 21(2), pages 438-472, June.
    7. Christian Lohmann, 2015. "Managerial incentives for capacity investment decisions," Journal of Management Control: Zeitschrift für Planung und Unternehmenssteuerung, Springer, vol. 26(1), pages 27-49, April.
    8. Stephan Leitner & Doris Behrens, 2015. "On the fault (in)tolerance of coordination mechanisms for distributed investment decisions," Central European Journal of Operations Research, Springer;Slovak Society for Operations Research;Hungarian Operational Research Society;Czech Society for Operations Research;Österr. Gesellschaft für Operations Research (ÖGOR);Slovenian Society Informatika - Section for Operational Research;Croatian Operational Research Society, vol. 23(1), pages 251-278, March.
    9. Kai Henning Blume, 2016. "Value-based management as a tailor-made management practice? A literature review," Journal of Management & Governance, Springer;Accademia Italiana di Economia Aziendale (AIDEA), vol. 20(3), pages 553-590, September.
    10. Williams, Michael A. & Baek, Grace & Park, Leslie Y. & Zhao, Wei, 2016. "Global evidence on the distribution of economic profit rates," Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications, Elsevier, vol. 458(C), pages 356-363.
    11. Rogerson William P, 2011. "On the Relationship Between Historic Cost, Forward Looking Cost and Long Run Marginal Cost," Review of Network Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 10(2), pages 1-31, June.
    12. Stefan Reichelstein & Anna Rohlfing-Bastian, 2014. "Levelized Product Cost: Concept and Decision Relevance," CESifo Working Paper Series 4590, CESifo Group Munich.
    13. Özge .Ic{s}legen & Stefan Reichelstein, 2011. "Carbon Capture by Fossil Fuel Power Plants: An Economic Analysis," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 57(1), pages 21-39, January.
    14. Deng, Binbin, 2016. "A Simple Model of Managerial Incentives and Portfolio-Investment Decision," MPRA Paper 79959, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    15. Maureen McNichols & Madhav V. Rajan & Stefan Reichelstein, 2014. "Conservatism Correction for the Market-To-Book Ratio and Tobin's q," CESifo Working Paper Series 4626, CESifo Group Munich.

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