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Moral hazard, investment, and firm dynamics


  • Hengjie Ai
  • Rui Li


We present a dynamic general equilibrium model with heterogeneous firms. Owners of firms delegate investment decisions to managers, whose consumption and investment decisions are private information. We solve the optimal contracts and characterize the implied general equilibrium. Our calibrated model has implications on the cross-sectional distribution and time-series dynamics of firms' investment, managers' compensation, and dividend payout policies. Risk sharing requires that managers' equity shares decrease with firm sizes. That, in turn, implies it is harder to prevent private benefit in larger firms, where managers have a lower equity stake under the optimal contract. Consequently, small firms invest more, pay less dividends, and grow faster than large firms. Despite the heterogeneity in firms' decision rules and the failure of Gibrat's law, we show that the size distribution of firms in our model resembles a power law distribution with a slope coefficient about 1.06, as in the data.

Suggested Citation

  • Hengjie Ai & Rui Li, 2012. "Moral hazard, investment, and firm dynamics," FRB Atlanta CQER Working Paper 2012-01, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedacq:2012-01

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    3. Hall, Lisa M.H. & Buckley, Alastair R., 2016. "A review of energy systems models in the UK: Prevalent usage and categorisation," Applied Energy, Elsevier, vol. 169(C), pages 607-628.
    4. Mu, Congming & Wang, Anxing & Yang, Jinqiang, 2017. "Optimal capital structure with moral hazard," International Review of Economics & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 48(C), pages 326-338.
    5. Ai, Hengjie & Li, Rui, 2015. "Investment and CEO compensation under limited commitment," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 116(3), pages 452-472.

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