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Selection among Mutually Exclusive Investments with Managerial Private Information and Moral Hazard


  • Rick Antle

    (Yale School of Management)

  • Peter Bogetoft

    (Royal Agricultural University)

  • Andrew W. Stark

    (Manchester Business School)


We investigate the problem of selecting capital investments in an organizational context with asymmetric information. In a principal-agent model where a manager (agent) has superior information about the investment costs of n available mutually exclusive projects, we develop the owner´s (principal´s) optimal investment and compensation policies subject to the constraints created by the manager´s strategic behavior. The optimal policies take a simple form, and are defined by a handicapping scheme involving n cost targets, one for each of the possible projects. The optimal investment policy does not select the project with maximal, positive net present value (NPV). To limit the manager´s informational rents, projects with positive NPV may be forgone. Also, the project with maximal NPV is not always selected. To save on incentive costs, there will be tendency by to favour projects with less variation in costs. Furthermore, when the available projects are asymmetric ex ante, it may nevertheless be optimal to use an asymmetric policy.

Suggested Citation

  • Rick Antle & Peter Bogetoft & Andrew W. Stark, 1997. "Selection among Mutually Exclusive Investments with Managerial Private Information and Moral Hazard," CIE Discussion Papers 1997-06, University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics. Centre for Industrial Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:kud:kuieci:1997-06

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Dierker, E. & Dierker, H. & Grobal, B., 1999. "Incomplete Markets and the Firm," Papers 99-03, Carleton - School of Public Administration.
    2. Kenneth J. Arrow, 1950. "A Difficulty in the Concept of Social Welfare," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 58, pages 328-328.
    3. Guesnerie, Roger, 1975. "Pareto Optimality in Non-Convex Economies," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 43(1), pages 1-29, January.
    4. Geanakoplos, J. & Magill, M. & Quinzii, M. & Dreze, J., 1990. "Generic inefficiency of stock market equilibrium when markets are incomplete," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(1-2), pages 113-151.
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    Cited by:

    1. Antle, Rick & Bogetoft, Peter & Stark, Andrew W., 2001. "Information systems, incentives and the timing of investments," Journal of Accounting and Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 20(4-5), pages 267-294.

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