A Mechanism Design Model of Firm Dynamics: The Case of Limited Commitment
61 Pages Posted: 1 Nov 2013
Date Written: July 18, 2013
We present a general equilibrium-mechanism design model with two-sided limited commitment that accounts for the observed heterogeneity in firms' investment, payout and CEO-compensation policies. In the model, shareholders cannot commit to holding negative net present value projects, and managers cannot commit to compensation plans that yield life-time utility lower than their outside options. Firms operate identical constant return to scale technologies with i.i.d. productivity growth. Consistent with the data, the model endogenously generates a power law in firm size and a power law in CEO compensation. We also show that the model is able to quantitatively explain the observed negative relationship between firms' investment rates and size, the positive relationship between firms' size and their dividend and CEO payout, as well as variation of firms' investment and payout policies across both size and age.
Keywords: Mechanism Design, Limited Commitment, Firm Dynamics
JEL Classification: E13, G30
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