Empire-Builders and Shirkers: Investment, Firm Performance, and Managerial Incentives

40 Pages Posted: 6 Apr 2000 Last revised: 13 Oct 2010

See all articles by Rajesh K. Aggarwal

Rajesh K. Aggarwal

Northeastern University

Andrew A. Samwick

Dartmouth College - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Date Written: September 1999

Abstract

Do firms systematically over- or underinvest as a result of agency problems? We develop a contracting model between shareholders and managers in which managers have private benefits or private costs of investment. Managers overinvest when they have private benefits and underinvest when they have private costs. Optimal incentive contracts mitigate the over- or underinvestment problem. We derive comparative static predictions for the equilibrium relationships between incentives from compensation, investment, and firm performance for both cases. The relationship between firm performance and managerial incentives, in isolation, is insufficient to identify whether managers have private benefits or private costs of investment. In order to identify whether managers have private benefits or costs, we estimate the joint relationships between incentives and firm performance and between incentives and investment. Our empirical results show that both firm performance and investment are increasing in managerial incentives. These results are consistent with managers having private costs of investment. We find no support for overinvestment based on private benefits.

Suggested Citation

Aggarwal, Rajesh K. and Samwick, Andrew A., Empire-Builders and Shirkers: Investment, Firm Performance, and Managerial Incentives (September 1999). NBER Working Paper No. w7335. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=196029

Rajesh K. Aggarwal (Contact Author)

Northeastern University ( email )

413 Hayden Hall
360 Huntington Avenue
Boston, MA 02115
United States

Andrew A. Samwick

Dartmouth College - Department of Economics ( email )

Hanover, NH 03755
United States
603-646-2893 (Phone)
603-646-2122 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.dartmouth.edu/~samwick

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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