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Career Concerns And Contingent Compensation

  • Guillermo Caruana


  • Marco Celentani


This paper considers a two-period model in which managers have superior information about their ability to forecast the realization of given investment projects. Firms compete for managers by offering short-run contracts. As future salaries depend on current play through its impact on managerial reputation, managers' investment decisions are affected by their concern for their future careers. We analyze the interaction between these implicit incentives, created by managers' career concerns, and the explicit incentives made possible by contingent compensation. We show that managers' career concerns create perverse incentives that are robust to the introduction of contingent contracting. We also find that while managerial compensation is monotonically increasing in profit at date 2, it is not at date 1. Two numerical exercises relate the implications of our results to the literature on the link between pay and performance. In line with empirical findings, we find that: i) the pay-performance sensitivity is highest in the final period of managers' employment; ii) higher pay-performance sensitivities are associated with a lower variance of profits.

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Paper provided by Universidad Carlos III, Departamento de Economía in its series Economics Working Papers with number we014811.

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Date of creation: Oct 2001
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:cte:werepe:we014811
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  1. Jeon, Seonghoon, 1998. "Reputational concerns and managerial incentives in investment decisions," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 42(7), pages 1203-1219, July.
  2. Meyer, Margaret A & Vickers, John, 1995. "Performance Comparisons and Dynamic Incentives," CEPR Discussion Papers 1107, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  3. Holmstrom, Bengt & Milgrom, Paul, 1987. "Aggregation and Linearity in the Provision of Intertemporal Incentives," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 55(2), pages 303-28, March.
  4. Ricart I Costa, Joan E., 1989. "On managerial contracting with asymmetric information," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 33(9), pages 1805-1829, December.
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  6. Douglas W. Diamond, 1998. "Reputation Acquisition in Debt Markets," Levine's Working Paper Archive 602, David K. Levine.
  7. Murphy, Kevin J., 1999. "Executive compensation," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 38, pages 2485-2563 Elsevier.
  8. Bengt Holmstrom & Joan Ricart i Costa, 1986. "Managerial Incentives and Capital Management," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 101(4), pages 835-860.
  9. Mathias Dewatripont & Ian Jewitt & Jean Tirole, 1999. "The Economics of Career Concerns, Part II: Application to Missions and Accountability of Government Agencies," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 66(1), pages 199-217.
  10. Ricart i Costa, Joan E, 1988. "Managerial Task Assignment and Promotions," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 56(2), pages 449-66, March.
  11. Rajesh K. Aggarwal & Andrew A. Samwick, 1999. "The Other Side of the Trade-off: The Impact of Risk on Executive Compensation," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 107(1), pages 65-105, February.
  12. Stephen Morris, 1999. "Political Correctness," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 1242, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  13. Maskin, Eric & Tirole, Jean, 1992. "The Principal-Agent Relationship with an Informed Principal, II: Common Values," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 60(1), pages 1-42, January.
  14. Hirshleifer, David & Thakor, Anjan V, 1992. "Managerial Conservatism, Project Choice, and Debt," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 5(3), pages 437-70.
  15. Scharfstein, David. & Stein, Jeremy C., 1988. "Herd behavior and investment," Working papers WP 2062-88., Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Sloan School of Management.
  16. Gibbons, R. & Murphy, K.J., 1990. "Optimal Incentive Contracts In The Presence Of Career Concerns: Theory And Evidence," Working papers 563, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  17. Zwiebel, Jeffrey, 1995. "Corporate Conservatism and Relative Compensation," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 103(1), pages 1-25, February.
  18. Mathias Dewatripont & Ian Jewitt & Jean Tirole, 1999. "The Economics of Career Concerns, Part I: Comparing Information Structures," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 66(1), pages 183-198.
  19. Fama, Eugene F, 1980. "Agency Problems and the Theory of the Firm," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 88(2), pages 288-307, April.
  20. Prendergast, Canice & Stole, Lars, 1996. "Impetuous Youngsters and Jaded Old-Timers: Acquiring a Reputation for Learning," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 104(6), pages 1105-34, December.
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