Negotiated Transfer Pricing and Divisional Versus Firm-Wide Performance Evaluation
33 Pages Posted: 13 Feb 1999
Date Written: January 1999
A firm with two divisions, each run by a risk-averse manager, contracts with the two managers to operate their divisions and possibly engage in interdivisional trade. Each division can increase the total surplus generated through interdivisional trade by making costly relationship-specific investments. The terms of trade are determined through negotiations between the two managers. Managerial compensation contracts are linear functions of divisional profit and firm-wide profit. If managers are compensated solely on the basis of their divisional profits, they invest less than the first-best amounts. While compensation contracts based on firm-wide profits alone can induce first-best investments, they impose extra risk on risk-averse managers. Therefore, we find that optimal linear compensation contracts will contain both divisional and firm-wide components. Our analysis also identifies a feature of negotiated transfer pricing, namely interdivisional risk-sharing, and characterizes its impact on the design of optimal contracts.
JEL Classification: L29
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation