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Managerial Incentives and Capital Management

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Abstract

In Holmstrom (1982) an example is given, which shows that a manager's concern for the value of his human capital will lead to a natural incongruity in risk-preferences between himself and the owners, even when no effort considerations are involved. In this paper we present a formal model of this channel of incongruity based on learning about managerial talent. We also explore the nature of an optimal incentive contract in the case where the manager may withhold but not misrepresent information about investment returns. The optimal contract is an option on the manager's human capital value with a possible bonus for investing. The optimal investment rule accepts fewer investments than under the cost of capital -- a commonly observed real world feature. Another phenomena the model helps explain is the extensive use of capital budgeting and rationing schemes in place of linear or non-linear price decentralization, which are shown to be less efficient modes of allocation.

Suggested Citation

  • Bengt Holmstrom & I. Ricard & Joan Costa, 1984. "Managerial Incentives and Capital Management," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 729, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  • Handle: RePEc:cwl:cwldpp:729
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    File URL: http://cowles.yale.edu/sites/default/files/files/pub/d07/d0729.pdf
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    1. Grossman, Sanford J & Hart, Oliver D, 1983. "An Analysis of the Principal-Agent Problem," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 51(1), pages 7-45, January.
    2. Ross, Stephen A, 1973. "The Economic Theory of Agency: The Principal's Problem," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 63(2), pages 134-139, May.
    3. Milton Harris & Bengt Holmstrom, 1981. "A Theory of Wage Dynamics," Discussion Papers 488, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
    4. Bengt Holmstrom & Laurence Weiss, 1985. "Managerial Incentives, Investment and Aggregate Implications: Scale Effects," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 52(3), pages 403-425.
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    Cited by:

    1. Waldman, Michael, 1989. "Information on worker ability : An analysis of investment within the firm," Information Economics and Policy, Elsevier, vol. 4(1), pages 57-80.
    2. Joan E. Ricarti Costa, 1984. "Managerial Task Assignment and Promotions," Discussion Papers 595S, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.

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