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The Case of the Errant Executive : Management, Control and Firm Size in Corporate Cheating

  • Brishti Guha

    ()

    (School of Economics and Social Sciences, Singapore Management University)

Firm insiders – a manager and a board – face moral hazard in relation to their outside shareholders in a repeated game with asymmetric information and stochastic market outcomes. The manager determines whether or not outsiders are cheated; the board, whose objectives differ from those of outside shareholders, attempts to control the manager through compensation contracts and dismissal threats Since compensation determines the manager’s incentive to cheat, firms competing for outside capital publicly announce their managerial contracts. However, secret renegotiation between firm and manager is still possible: so outsiders guard against being cheated by limiting their total stake in any firm. This imposes a credibility constraint on firm size, providing a rationale for the shape of long-run cost curves. Given this limit on outside funds, the minimum size requirement for enterprises to become operational and the ability to pay managers enough to ensure honesty both set a floor to the personal wealth required to enter entrepreneurship. Thus, we endogenize entry into industry, establish a unique equilibrium for any distribution of wealth, and characterize different equilibria. We also explain features of poor countries like dominance of family firms, moral hazard induced vicious circles that retard industrialization and the stimulus that inequality may provide to industrial development.

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Paper provided by Singapore Management University, School of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 16-2005.

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Length: 32 pages
Date of creation: Sep 2005
Date of revision:
Publication status: Published in SMU Economics and Statistics Working Paper Series
Handle: RePEc:siu:wpaper:16-2005
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  1. Tirole, Jean, 1996. "A Theory of Collective Reputations (with Applications to the Persistence of Corruption and to Firm Quality)," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 63(1), pages 1-22, January.
  2. Banerjee, Abhijit V & Newman, Andrew F, 1993. "Occupational Choice and the Process of Development," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 101(2), pages 274-98, April.
  3. Faure-Grimaud, Antoine & Gromb, Denis, 2000. "Public Trading and Private Incentives," CEPR Discussion Papers 2505, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  4. Brishti Guha, 2005. "Honesty and Intermediation : Corporate Cheating, Auditor Involvement and the Implications for Development," Microeconomics Working Papers 22426, East Asian Bureau of Economic Research.
  5. Oded Galor & Joseph Zeira, 2013. "Income Distribution and Macroeconomics," Working Papers 2013-12, Brown University, Department of Economics.
  6. Shapiro, Carl & Stiglitz, Joseph E, 1984. "Equilibrium Unemployment as a Worker Discipline Device," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 74(3), pages 433-44, June.
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  8. Lal, Deepak & Myint, H., 1998. "The Political Economy of Poverty, Equity and Growth: A Comparative Study," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198294320, March.
  9. Greif, Avner, 1993. "Contract Enforceability and Economic Institutions in Early Trade: the Maghribi Traders' Coalition," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(3), pages 525-48, June.
  10. Bernanke, Ben & Gertler, Mark, 1989. "Agency Costs, Net Worth, and Business Fluctuations," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(1), pages 14-31, March.
  11. Jensen, Michael C, 1986. "Agency Costs of Free Cash Flow, Corporate Finance, and Takeovers," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(2), pages 323-29, May.
  12. Gale, Douglas & Hellwig, Martin, 1985. "Incentive-Compatible Debt Contracts: The One-Period Problem," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 52(4), pages 647-63, October.
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