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Assessing Managerial Ability: Implications for Corporate Governance


  • Benjamin Hermalin
  • Michael Weisbach


A manager’s current and potential future employers are continually assessing her or his ability. Such assessment is a crucial component of corporate governance and this chapter provides an overview of the research on that aspect of governance. In particular, we review how assessment generates incentives (both good and bad), generates risks that must be faced by both managers and firms, and affects the contractual relationships between those parties in important ways. Assessment (or learning) proves a key perspective from which to study, evaluate, and possibly even regulate corporate governance. Moreover, because learning is a behavior notoriously subject to systematic biases, this perspective is a natural avenue through which to introduce behavioral and psychological insights into the study of corporate governance.

Suggested Citation

  • Benjamin Hermalin & Michael Weisbach, 2017. "Assessing Managerial Ability: Implications for Corporate Governance," NBER Working Papers 23121, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:23121
    Note: CF IO LE

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Shane A. Johnson & Harley E. Ryan & Yisong S. Tian, 2009. "Managerial Incentives and Corporate Fraud: The Sources of Incentives Matter," Review of Finance, European Finance Association, vol. 13(1), pages 115-145.
    2. Blackwell, David W. & Brickley, James A. & Weisback, Michael S., 1994. "Accounting information and internal performance evaluation : Evidence from Texas banks," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(3), pages 331-358, May.
    3. repec:hrv:faseco:30728046 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Dirk Jenter & Fadi Kanaan, 2015. "CEO Turnover and Relative Performance Evaluation," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 70(5), pages 2155-2184, October.
    5. Mark R. Huson, 2001. "Internal Monitoring Mechanisms and CEO Turnover: A Long-Term Perspective," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 56(6), pages 2265-2297, December.
    6. Efendi, Jap & Srivastava, Anup & Swanson, Edward P., 2007. "Why do corporate managers misstate financial statements? The role of option compensation and other factors," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 85(3), pages 667-708, September.
    7. Shleifer, Andrei & Vishny, Robert W, 1997. " A Survey of Corporate Governance," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 52(2), pages 737-783, June.
    8. Drew Fudenberg & Jean Tirole, 1986. "A "Signal-Jamming" Theory of Predation," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 17(3), pages 366-376, Autumn.
    9. Fama, Eugene F, 1980. "Agency Problems and the Theory of the Firm," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 88(2), pages 288-307, April.
    10. Marianne Bertrand & Sendhil Mullainathan, 2001. "Are CEOs Rewarded for Luck? The Ones Without Principals Are," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 116(3), pages 901-932.
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    1. repec:eee:jaecon:v:64:y:2017:i:2:p:183-214 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D81 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Criteria for Decision-Making under Risk and Uncertainty
    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness
    • G34 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Mergers; Acquisitions; Restructuring; Corporate Governance
    • M12 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Business Administration - - - Personnel Management; Executives; Executive Compensation

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