Dynamic Agency and the q Theory of Investment

  • Author(s): PETER M. DEMARZO, MICHAEL J. FISHMAN, ZHIGUO HE, NENG WANG
  • Published: Nov 19, 2012
  • Pages: 2295-2340
  • DOI: 10.1111/j.1540-6261.2012.01787.x

ABSTRACT

We develop an analytically tractable model integrating dynamic investment theory with dynamic optimal incentive contracting, thereby endogenizing financing constraints. Incentive contracting generates a history‐dependent wedge between marginal and average q, and both vary over time as good (bad) performance relaxes (tightens) financing constraints. Financial slack, not cash flow, is the appropriate proxy for financing constraints. Investment decreases with idiosyncratic risk, and is positively correlated with past profits, past investment, and managerial compensation even with time‐invariant investment opportunities. Optimal contracting involves deferred compensation, possible termination, and compensation that depends on exogenous observable persistent profitability shocks, effectively paying managers for luck.

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