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Do Short-Term Managerial Objectives Lead to Under- or Over-Investment in Long-Term Projects

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  • Lucian Arye Bebchuk
  • Lars A. Stole

Abstract

This paper studies managerial decisions about investment in long-run projects in the presence of imperfect information (the market knows less about such investments than the firm's managers) and short-term managerial objectives (the managers are concerned about the short-term stock price as well as the long-term stock price). Prior work has suggested that imperfect information and short-term managerial objectives induce managers to underinvest in long-run projects. We show that either underinvestment or overinvestment is possible, and we identify the connection between the type of informational imperfection present and the direction of the distortion. When investors cannot observe the level of investment in long-run projects, suboptimal investment will be induced. When investors can observe investment but not its productivity, however, an excessive level of investment will be induced.

Suggested Citation

  • Lucian Arye Bebchuk & Lars A. Stole, 1994. "Do Short-Term Managerial Objectives Lead to Under- or Over-Investment in Long-Term Projects," NBER Technical Working Papers 0098, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberte:0098
    Note: ME
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Stein, Jeremy C, 1988. "Takeover Threats and Managerial Myopia," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 96(1), pages 61-80, February.
    2. Stewart C. Myers & Nicholas S. Majluf, 1984. "Corporate Financing and Investment Decisions When Firms Have InformationThat Investors Do Not Have," NBER Working Papers 1396, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Myers, Stewart C. & Majluf, Nicholas S., 1984. "Corporate financing and investment decisions when firms have information that investors do not have," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 13(2), pages 187-221, June.
    4. Jeremy C. Stein, 1989. "Efficient Capital Markets, Inefficient Firms: A Model of Myopic Corporate Behavior," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 104(4), pages 655-669.
    5. Scharfstein, David S & Stein, Jeremy C, 1990. "Herd Behavior and Investment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(3), pages 465-479, June.
    6. Myers, Stewart C. & Majluf, Nicolás S., 1945-, 1984. "Corporate financing and investment decisions when firms have information that investors do not have," Working papers 1523-84., Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Sloan School of Management.
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    Cited by:

    1. Mohammed Subhi Al Essawi & Petre Brezeanu, 2011. "The Diversity of Corporate Governance Models. Overview at the Country Level," Annals of the University of Petrosani, Economics, University of Petrosani, Romania, vol. 11(2), pages 5-14.
    2. Grant, Simon & King, Stephen & Polak, Ben, 1996. " Information Externalities, Share-Price Based Incentives and Managerial Behaviour," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 10(1), pages 1-21, March.
    3. Grenadier, Steven R. & Wang, Neng, 2005. "Investment timing, agency, and information," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 75(3), pages 493-533, March.
    4. Bebchuk, Lucian A. & Cohen, Alma, 2005. "The costs of entrenched boards," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 78(2), pages 409-433, November.
    5. Toudas, Kanellos & Karathanassis, George, 2007. "Corporate Governance and Firm Performance: Results from Greek Firms," MPRA Paper 6414, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    6. Lucian Bebchuk & Oliver Hart, 2001. "Takeover bids vs. Proxy Fights in Contests for Corporate Control," NBER Working Papers 8633, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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