Firm Value and Managerial Incentives
40 Pages Posted: 4 Nov 2008
Date Written: November 2000
We examine the relation between firm value and managerial incentives in a sample of 1,307 publicly-held U.S. firms in 1992-1997. As predicted by Berle and Means (1932), we find that CEOs do not maximize firm value when they are not the residual claimant: our firms have higher Tobin’s Q, the higher are CEO stockholdings. We also investigate the incentive properties of options and find that CEOs appear to hold too many options and that these options are insufficiently sensitive to firm risk. Our results do not appear to be driven by endogeneity biases. To assess the economic significance of the suboptimal provision of incentives, we compute an explicit performance benchmark which compares a firm’s actual Tobin’s Q to the Q* of a hypothetica fully-efficient firm having the same inputs and characteristics as the original firm. The Q of the average sample firm is around 12% lower than its Q*, equivalent to a $751 million reduction in its potential market value.
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