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An Equilibrium Model of Managerial Compensation

  • Martine Quinzii
  • Michael Magill

    (Department of Economics, University of California Davis)

This paper studies a general equilibrium model with two groups of agents, investors (shareholders) and managers of firms, in which managerial effort is not observable and influences the probabilities of firms' outcomes. Shareholders of each firm offer the manager an incentive contract which maximizes the firm's market value, under the assumption that the financial markets are complete relative to the possible outcomes of the firms. The paper studies two sources of inefficiency of equilibrium. First, when investors are risk averse and effort influences probability, market-value maximization differs from maximization of expected utility. Second, because the optimal contract exploits all sources of information for inferring managerial effort, when firms' outputs are correlated the contract of a manager depends on the outcomes of other firms. This leads to an external effect of the effort of one manager on the compensation of other managers, which market-value maximization ignores. We show that under typical conditions these two effects lead to an under-provision of effort in equilibrium. These inefficiencies disappear however if each firm is replicated, and in the limit there is a continuum of firms of each type.

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Paper provided by University of California, Davis, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 53.

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Length: 31
Date of creation: 11 Apr 2005
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:cda:wpaper:05-3
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  1. Prescott, Edward C & Townsend, Robert M, 1984. "Pareto Optima and Competitive Equilibria with Adverse Selection and Moral Hazard," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 52(1), pages 21-45, January.
  2. Michael Magill & Martine Quinzii, 2006. "Common Shocks and Relative Compensation," Annals of Finance, Springer, vol. 2(4), pages 407-420, October.
  3. Rogerson, William P, 1985. "The First-Order Approach to Principal-Agent Problems," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 53(6), pages 1357-67, November.
  4. Mookherjee, Dilip, 1984. "Optimal Incentive Schemes with Many Agents," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 51(3), pages 433-46, July.
  5. Jewitt, Ian, 1988. "Justifying the First-Order Approach to Principal-Agent Problems," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 56(5), pages 1177-90, September.
  6. Jensen, Michael C & Murphy, Kevin J, 1990. "Performance Pay and Top-Management Incentives," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(2), pages 225-64, April.
  7. Edward C Prescott & Robert M Townsend, 1997. "General Competitive Analysis in an Economy with Private Information," Levine's Working Paper Archive 1578, David K. Levine.
  8. Kocherlakota, Narayana R., 1998. "The effects of moral hazard on asset prices when financial markets are complete," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 41(1), pages 39-56, February.
  9. Magill, Michael & Quinzii, Martine, 2002. "Capital market equilibrium with moral hazard," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 38(1-2), pages 149-190, September.
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