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Leading Indicator Variables, Performance Measurement and Long-Term versus Short-Term Contracts

  • Dutta, Sunil

    (U of California, Berkeley)

  • Reichelstein, Stefan J.

    (Stanford U)

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    This paper develops a multiperiod agency model to study the use of leading indicator variables in managerial performance measures. In addition to the familiar moral hazard problem, the principal faces the task of motivating a manager to undertake "soft" investments. These investments are not directly contractible, but the principal can instead rely on leading indicator variables which provide a noisy forecast of the investment returns to be received in future periods. Our analysis relates the role of leading indicator variables to the duration of the manager's incentive contract. With short-term contracts, leading indicator variables are essential in mitigating a hold up problem resulting from the fact that investments are sunk at the end of the first period. With long-term contracts, leading indicator variables will be valuable if the manager's compensation schemes are not stationary over time. The leading indicator variables then become an instrument for matching the future investment return with the current investment expenditure. We identify conditions under which the optimal long-term contract induces larger investments and less reliance on the leading indicator variables in comparison to short-term contracts. Under certain conditions, though, the principal does better with sequence of one-period contracts than with a long-term contract.

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    File URL: http://gsbapps.stanford.edu/researchpapers/library/RP1756.pdf
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    Paper provided by Stanford University, Graduate School of Business in its series Research Papers with number 1756.

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    Date of creation: Jun 2002
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    Handle: RePEc:ecl:stabus:1756
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    1. Chiappori, Pierre-Andre & Macho, Ines & Rey, Patrick & Salanie, Bernard, 1994. "Repeated moral hazard: The role of memory, commitment, and the access to credit markets," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 38(8), pages 1527-1553, October.
    2. Fudenberg, Drew & Tirole, Jean, 1990. "Moral Hazard and Renegotiation in Agency Contracts," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 58(6), pages 1279-1319, November.
    3. Kim, Oliver & Suh, Yoon, 1993. "Incentive efficiency of compensation based on accounting and market performance," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 16(1-3), pages 25-53, April.
    4. Dirk Sliwka, 2002. "On the Use of Nonfinancial Performance Measures in Management Compensation," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 11(3), pages 487-511, 09.
    5. Drew Fudenberg & Bengt Holmstrom & Paul Milgrom, 1987. "Short-Term Contracts and Long-Term Agency Relationships," Working papers 468, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
    6. Lucian Arye Bebchuk & Jesse M. Fried & David I. Walker, 2001. "Executive Compensation in America: Optimal Contracting or Extraction of Rents?," NBER Working Papers 8661, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Jensen, M.C. & Murphy, K.J., 1988. "Performance Pay And Top Management Incentives," Papers 88-04, Rochester, Business - Managerial Economics Research Center.
    8. John R. Hauser & Duncan I. Simester & Birger Wernerfelt, 1994. "Customer Satisfaction Incentives," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 13(4), pages 327-350.
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