Optimal Contracts with Performance Manipulation
Journal of Accounting Research, Forthcoming
41 Pages Posted: 17 Apr 2012 Last revised: 18 Jun 2014
Date Written: June 4, 2014
We study optimal compensation contracts that (i) are designed to address a joint moral hazard and adverse selection problem and that (ii) are based on performance measures which may be manipulated by the agent at a cost. In the model, a manager is privately informed about his productivity prior to being hired by a firm. In order to incentivize the manager to exert productive effort, the firm designs a compensation contract that is based on reported earnings, which can be manipulated by the manager.
Our model predicts that (i) the optimal compensation contract is convex in reported earnings;(ii) the optimal contract is less sensitive to reported earnings than it would be absent the manager's ability to manipulate earnings; and (iii) higher costs of manipulating reported earnings (e.g., due to higher governance quality) are associated with higher firm value, lower expected level of earnings management and higher output.
Keywords: Compensation, Governance, Moral Hazard, Earnings Management
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