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An Equilibrium Model of Managerial Compensation


  • Michael Magill
  • Martine Quinzii


This paper studies a general equilibrium model with two groups of agents, investors (shareholders) and managers of firms, in which managerial effort is not observable and influences the probabilities of firms’ outcomes. Shareholders of each firm offer the manager an incentive contract which maximizes the firm’s market value, under the assumption that the financial markets are complete relative to the possible outcomes of the firms. The paper studies two sources of inefficiency of equilibrium. First, when investors are risk averse and effort influences probability, market-value maximization differs from maximization of expected utility. Second, because the optimal contract exploits all sources of information for inferring managerial effort, when firms’ outputs are correlated the contract of a manager depends on the outcomes of other firms. This leads to an external effect of the effort of one manager on the compensation of other managers, which market-value maximization ignores. We show that under typical conditions these two effects lead to an under-provision of effort in equilibrium. These inefficiencies disappear however if each firm is replicated, and in the limit there is a continuum of firms of each type.

Suggested Citation

  • Michael Magill & Martine Quinzii, 2005. "An Equilibrium Model of Managerial Compensation," IEPR Working Papers 05.22, Institute of Economic Policy Research (IEPR).
  • Handle: RePEc:scp:wpaper:05-22

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Rogerson, William P, 1985. "The First-Order Approach to Principal-Agent Problems," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 53(6), pages 1357-1367, November.
    2. Prescott, Edward C & Townsend, Robert M, 1984. "General Competitive Analysis in an Economy with Private Information," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 25(1), pages 1-20, February.
    3. Dilip Mookherjee, 1984. "Optimal Incentive Schemes with Many Agents," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 51(3), pages 433-446.
    4. Prescott, Edward C & Townsend, Robert M, 1984. "Pareto Optima and Competitive Equilibria with Adverse Selection and Moral Hazard," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 52(1), pages 21-45, January.
    5. Magill, Michael & Quinzii, Martine, 2002. "Capital market equilibrium with moral hazard," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 38(1-2), pages 149-190, September.
    6. Jewitt, Ian, 1988. "Justifying the First-Order Approach to Principal-Agent Problems," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 56(5), pages 1177-1190, September.
    7. Jensen, Michael C & Murphy, Kevin J, 1990. "Performance Pay and Top-Management Incentives," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(2), pages 225-264, April.
    8. Michael Magill & Martine Quinzii, 2006. "Common Shocks and Relative Compensation," Annals of Finance, Springer, vol. 2(4), pages 407-420, October.
    9. Kocherlakota, Narayana R., 1998. "The effects of moral hazard on asset prices when financial markets are complete," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 41(1), pages 39-56, February.
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    Cited by:

    1. Guido Maretto, 2011. "Contracts and Market: Risk Sharing with Hidden Types," Working Papers ECARES ECARES 2011-005, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D23 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Organizational Behavior; Transaction Costs; Property Rights
    • D51 - Microeconomics - - General Equilibrium and Disequilibrium - - - Exchange and Production Economies
    • D62 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Externalities
    • D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design

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