Executive Compensation and the Optimality of Managerial Entrenchment
NBER Working Paper No. 5779
Firms are more complicated than standard principal-agent theory allows: firms have assets-in-place; firms endure through time, allowing for the possibility of replacing a shirking manager; firms have many managers, constraining the amount of equity that can be awarded to any one manager; and, a firm's owner can transfer some control to a manager, thereby entrenching her. Recognizing these characteristics, we solve for the vesting dates; wage, equity and options components; and control rights of an optimal contract. Managerial entrenchment makes the promise of deferred compensation credible. Deferring compensation by delaying vesting reduces a manager's ability to free-ride on a replacement's effort.