Alejandro Rivera, University of Texas at Dallas, will discuss their research.
We examine a general equilibrium dynamic economy in which each firm hires a manager who privately observes cash flows and can fire him after poor performance, generating costs to both parties. The contract is terminated when the manager’s continuation value reaches his compensation at another firm net of his search cost. The unique competitive equilibrium features overcompensation, short-termism, and excessive executive tenure. When a firm increases executive pay, it increases the cost to other firms to retain their managers, in turn forcing them to raise and front-load their compensation packages. Inefficiencies decrease with the firm’s discount rate and increase with the manager’s discount rate, the termination cost to the firm, and the proxy for moral hazard. An increase in the search cost to the manager increases social welfare. In the competitive equilibrium, the private optimal contract can be implemented via inside equity relinquished by the manager upon moving to a new firm. Optimal corporate and income tax schedules can generate the social planner’s allocation.