Risk aversion, performance pay, and the principal-agent problem
This paper calculates numerical solutions to the principal-agent problem and compares the results to the stylized facts of CEO compensation. The numerical predictions come from parameterizing the models of Grossman and Hart and of Holmstrom and Milgrom. While the correct incentives for a CEO can greatly enhance a firm's performance, providing such incentives need not be expensive. For many parameter values, CEO compensation need only increase by about $10 for every $1,000 of additional shareholder value; for some values, the amount is 0.003 cents. The paper thus answers two challenges posed by Jensen: that principal-agent theory does not yield quantitative predictions, and that CEO compensation is insufficiently sensitive to firm performance.
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- Caballero, Ricardo J., 1990. "Consumption puzzles and precautionary savings," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 25(1), pages 113-136, January.
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- Holmstrom, Bengt & Milgrom, Paul, 1987. "Aggregation and Linearity in the Provision of Intertemporal Incentives," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 55(2), pages 303-328, March.
- Bengt Holmstrom & Paul R. Milgrom, 1985. "Aggregation and Linearity in the Provision of Intertemporal Incentives," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 742, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
- Joseph G. Haubrich, 2001. "Sharing with a risk-neutral agent," Economic Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, issue Q I, pages 2-8.
- Joseph G. Haubrich, 1993. "Sharing with a risk-neutral agent," Working Paper 9301, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.
- Kandel, Shmuel & Stambaugh, Robert F., 1991. "Asset returns and intertemporal preferences," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(1), pages 39-71, February.
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- Michael C. Jensen & Kevin J. Murphy, 2010. "CEO Incentives-It's Not How Much You Pay, But How," Journal of Applied Corporate Finance, Morgan Stanley, vol. 22(1), pages 64-76.
- Michael C. Jensen & Kevin J. Murphy, 1990. "Ceo Incentives - It'S Not How Much You Pay, But How," Journal of Applied Corporate Finance, Morgan Stanley, vol. 3(3), pages 36-49.
- Weisbach, Michael S., 1988. "Outside directors and CEO turnover," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 20(1-2), pages 431-460, January.
- Sappington, David, 1983. "Limited liability contracts between principal and agent," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 29(1), pages 1-21, February. Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)
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