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Contingent Debt and Performance Pricing in an Optimal Capital Structure Model with Financial Distress and Reorganization
Building on the trade-off between agency costs and monitoring costs, we develop a dynamic theory of optimal capital structure with financial distress and reorganization. Costly monitoring eliminates the agency friction and thus the risk of inefficient liquidation. Our key assumption is that monitoring cannot be applied instantaneously. Rather, transitions between agency and monitoring are subject to search frictions. In the optimal contract, the firm seeks a monitoring opportunity whenever it is financially distressed, i.e., when the risk of liquidation is high. If a monitoring opportunity ...
The role of financial reporting and transparency in corporate governance
The authors review recent literature on the role of corporate financial reporting and transparency in reducing governance-related agency conflicts between managers, directors, shareholders, and other stakeholders?most notably financial regulators?and suggest some avenues for future research. Key themes include the endogenous nature of governance mechanisms with respect to information asymmetry between contracting parties, the heterogeneous nature of the informational demands of contracting parties, and the corresponding heterogeneity of the associated governance mechanisms. The authors also ...
Optimal Contracts with Reflection
In this paper, we show that whenever the agent's outside option is nonzero, the optimal contract in the continuous-time principal-agent model of Sannikov (2008) is reflective at the lower bound. This means the agent is never terminated or retired after poor performance. Instead, the agent is asked to put zero effort temporarily, which brings his continuation value up. The agent is then asked to resume effort, and the contract continues. We show that a nonzero agent's outside option arises endogenously if the agent is allowed to quit and find a new firm (after a random search time of finite ...
How Well Does Agency Theory Explain Executive Compensation?
As the share of all income going to the top 1 percent has risen over the past four decades, so has the share of top incomes coming from labor income relative to capital income. The rise in labor income is mainly due to the explosion in executive compensation over the same period?mostly because of the increase in executives being paid with stocks, options, and bonuses. The principal-agent model explains the reason for such compensation instead of a flat salary. Yet hundreds of papers in economics, finance, accounting, and management have reached no consensus on whether executive compensation ...
Was Sarbanes-Oxley Costly? Evidence from Optimal Contracting on CEO Compensation
This paper investigates the effects of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX) on CEO compensation, using panel data constructed for the S&P 1500 firms on CEO compensation, financial returns, and reported accounting income. Empirically SOX (i) changes the relationship between a firm?s abnormal returns and CEO compensation, (ii) changes the underlying distribution of abnormal returns, and (iii) significantly raises the expected CEO compensation in the primary sector. We develop and estimate a dynamic principal agent model of hidden information and hidden actions to explain these regularities. We find ...