Liquidity and Manipulation of Executive Compensation Schemes
36 Pages Posted: 16 Mar 2006 Last revised: 6 May 2011
Date Written: January 1, 2008
Compensation contracts have been criticized for encouraging managers to manipulate information. This includes bonus schemes that encourage earnings smoothing, and option packages that allow managers to cash out early when the firm is overvalued. We show that the intransparency induced by these contract features is critical for giving long-term incentives. Lack of transparency makes it harder for the owner to engage in ex post optimal but ex ante inefficient liquidity provision to the manager. For the same reason, it is often optimal to "pay for luck" - i.e., tie long-term compensation to variables that the manager has no influence over, but may have private information about, such as future profitability of the whole industry.
Keywords: Executive Compensation, Earnings Manipulation, Transparency
JEL Classification: G34, J33
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation