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Insider trading, costly monitoring, and managerial incentives

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  • Jie Hu
  • Thomas H. Noe

Abstract

In this paper we show, in an incomplete contracts framework that combines asymmetric information and moral hazard, that by permitting insiders to trade on personal account the equilibrium level of output can be increased and shareholder welfare can be improved. There are two reasons for this. First, insider trading impounds information regarding the costs and benefits of effort and perk consumption into asset prices, which allows shareholders to choose more efficient portfolio allocations. Second, allowing insider trading can induce managers to increase their stake in the firm beyond that obtained through bargaining with shareholders. This effect leads to a reduction in managerial perk consumption and/or increased managerial effort. Insider trading can also be costly for shareholders' intermediate range of monitoring costs and project difficulty because, in such cases, the efforts of managers are quite sensitive to the exact level of fractional shareownership, which managers can endogenously change if they are able to trade on personal account. Interestingly, when monitoring and effort costs are low, managers may prefer restrictions on their ability to trade as such restrictions will force shareholders to offer them a larger fraction of output.

Suggested Citation

  • Jie Hu & Thomas H. Noe, 1997. "Insider trading, costly monitoring, and managerial incentives," FRB Atlanta Working Paper 97-2, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedawp:97-2
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    File URL: http://www.frbatlanta.org//filelegacydocs/Wp972.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Noe, Thomas H, 1997. "Insider Trading and the Problem of Corporate Agency," Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 13(2), pages 287-318, October.
    2. Aghion, Philippe & Dewatripont, Mathias & Rey, Patrick, 1994. "Renegotiation Design with Unverifiable Information," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 62(2), pages 257-282, March.
    3. Hart, Oliver D, 1988. "Incomplete Contracts and the Theory of the Firm," Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 4(1), pages 119-139, Spring.
    4. Ausubel, Lawrence M, 1990. "Insider Trading in a Rational Expectations Economy," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(5), pages 1022-1041, December.
    5. Leland, Hayne E, 1992. "Insider Trading: Should It Be Prohibited?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(4), pages 859-887, August.
    6. Michael Manove, 1989. "The Harm from Insider Trading and Informed Speculation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 104(4), pages 823-845.
    7. Bebchuk, Lucian Arye & Fershtman, Chaim, 1994. "Insider Trading and the Managerial Choice among Risky Projects," Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, Cambridge University Press, vol. 29(01), pages 1-14, March.
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    Cited by:

    1. Robert Bricker & Garen Markarian, 2015. "Institutional Investors and Insider Trading Profitability," European Accounting Review, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 24(3), pages 495-518, September.

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    Keywords

    Financial markets ; Stock market;

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