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Contracting With Synergies

  • Edmans, Alex
  • Goldstein, Itay
  • Zhu, John

This paper studies multi-agent optimal contracting with cost synergies. We model synergies as the extent to which effort by one agent reduces his colleague's marginal cost of effort. An agent's pay and effort depend on the synergies he exerts, the synergies his colleagues exert on him and, surprisingly, the synergies his colleagues exert on each other. It may be optimal to "over-work" and "over-incentivize" a synergistic agent, due to the spillover effect on his colleagues. This result can rationalize the high pay differential between CEOs and divisional managers. An increase in the synergy between two particular agents can lead to a third agent being endogenously excluded from the team, even if his own synergy is unchanged. This result has implications for optimal team composition and firm boundaries.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 9559.

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Date of creation: Jul 2013
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:9559
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  1. Oyer, Paul & Schaefer, Scott, 2005. "Why do some firms give stock options to all employees?: An empirical examination of alternative theories," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 76(1), pages 99-133, April.
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  9. Jozsef Sakovics & Jakub Steiner, 2009. "Who Matters in Coordination Problems?," ESE Discussion Papers 190, Edinburgh School of Economics, University of Edinburgh.
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  13. Bebchuk, Lucian A. & Cremers, K.J. Martijn & Peyer, Urs C., 2011. "The CEO pay slice," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 102(1), pages 199-221, October.
  14. Armin Falk & Andrea Ichino, 2006. "Clean Evidence on Peer Effects," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 24(1), pages 39-58, January.
  15. Xavier Gabaix & Augustin Landier, 2008. "Why Has CEO Pay Increased So Much?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 123(1), pages 49-100, 02.
  16. Edward P. Lazear & Sherwin Rosen, 1979. "Rank-Order Tournaments as Optimum Labor Contracts," NBER Working Papers 0401, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. Dessein, Wouter & Garicano, Luis & Gertner, Robert, 2007. "Organizing for Synergies," CEPR Discussion Papers 6019, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  18. Viral V. Acharya & Stewart C. Myers & Raghuram G. Rajan, 2011. "The Internal Governance of Firms," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 66(3), pages 689-720, 06.
  19. Ramakrishnan, Ram T S & Thakor, Anjan V, 1991. "Cooperation versus Competition in Agency," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 7(2), pages 248-83, Fall.
  20. Alex Edmans & Xavier Gabaix & Augustin Landier, 2009. "A Multiplicative Model of Optimal CEO Incentives in Market Equilibrium," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 22(12), pages 4881-4917, December.
  21. repec:rje:randje:v:37:y:2006:2:p:376-390 is not listed on IDEAS
  22. Marko Tervio, 2008. "The Difference That CEOs Make: An Assignment Model Approach," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(3), pages 642-68, June.
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