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Now showing 1 - 10 of 128
  • Publication
    The Ombudsman: Are Top Executives Paid Enough? An Evidence-Based Review
    (2013-11-01) Jacquart, Philippe; Armstrong, J. Scott
    Our review of the evidence found that the notion that higher pay leads to the selection of better executives is undermined by the prevalence of poor recruiting methods. Moreover, higher pay fails to promote better performance. Instead, it undermines the intrinsic motivation of executives, inhibits their learning, leads them to ignore other stakeholders, and discourages them from considering the long-term effects of their decisions on stakeholders. Relating incentive payments to executives’ actions in an effective manner is not possible. Incentives also encourage unethical behavior. Organizations would benefit from using validated methods to hire top executives, reducing compensation, eliminating incentive plans, and strengthening stockholder governance related to the hiring and compensation of executives.
  • Publication
    Financial Reporting and Conflicting Managerial Incentives: The Case of Management Buyouts
    (2008-10-01) Fischer, Paul E; Louis, Henock
    We analyze the effect of external financing concerns on managers' financial reporting behavior prior to management buyouts (MBOs). Prior studies hypothesize that managers intending to undertake an MBO have an incentive to manage earnings downward to reduce the purchase price. We hypothesize that managers also face a conflicting reporting incentive associated with their efforts to obtain external financing for the MBO and to lower their financing cost. Consistent with our hypothesis, we find that managers who rely the most on external funds to finance their MBOs tend to report less negative abnormal accrual prior to the MBOs. In addition, the relation between external financing and abnormal accruals is tempered when there are more fixed assets that can serve as collateral for debt financing.
  • Publication
    The Impact of Product Variety on Automobile Assembly Operations: Empirical Evidence and Simulation Analysis
    (1999-06-01) Fisher, Marshall L; Ittner, Christopher D
    This study examines the impact of product variety on automobile assembly plant performance using data from GM's Wilmington, Delaware plant, together with simulation analyses of a more general auto assembly line. We extend prior product variety studies by providing evidence on the magnitude of variety-related production losses, the mechanisms through which variety impacts performance, and the effects of option bundling and labor staffing policies on the costs of product variety. The empirical analyses indicate that greater day-to-day variability in option content (but not mean option content per car) has a significant adverse impact on total labor hours per car produced, overhead hours per car produced, assembly line downtime, minor repair and major rework, and inventory levels, but does not have a significant short-run impact on total direct labor hours. However, workstations with higher variability in option content have greater slack direct labor resources to buffer against process time variation, introducing an additional cost of product variety. The simulation results support these findings in that once each workstation is optimally buffered against process time variation, product variety has an insignificant impact on direct assembly labor. The simulations also show that bundling options can reduce the amount of buffer capacity required, and that random variation is more pernicious to productivity than product variety, supporting the efforts of some auto makers to aggressively attack the causes of random variation.
  • Publication
    Endogenous Selection and Moral Hazard in Compensation Contracts
    (2010-07-01) Armstrong, Christopher S; Larcker, David F; Su, Che-Lin
    The two major paradigms in the theoretical agency literature are moral hazard (i.e., hidden action) and adverse selection (i.e., hidden information). Prior research typically solves these problems in isolation, as opposed to simultaneously incorporating both adverse selection and moral hazard features. We formulate two complementary generalized principal-agent models that incorporate features observed in real-world contracting environments (e.g., agents with power utility and limited liability, lognormal stock price distributions, and stock options) as mathematical programs with equilibrium constraints (MPEC). We use state-of-the-art numerical algorithms to solve the resulting models. We find that many of the standard results no longer obtain when wealth effects are present. We also develop a new measure of incentives calculated as the change in the agent's certainty equivalent under the optimal contract for a change in action evaluated at the optimal action. This measure facilitates interpretation of the resulting contracts and allows us to compare contracts across different contracting environments.
  • Publication
    The Party's Over: The Role of Earnings Guidance in Resolving Sentiment-Driven Overvaluation
    (2012-02-01) Seybert, Nicholas; Yang, Holly I
    This paper shows that an important link between investor sentiment and firm overvaluation is optimistic earnings expectations, and that management earnings guidance helps resolve sentiment-driven overvaluation. Using previously identified firm characteristics, we find that most of the negative returns to uncertain firms in months following high-sentiment periods fall within the three-day window around the issuance of management earnings guidance. Comparisons of guidance months to nonguidance months show that guidance issuance affects the magnitude and not just the daily distribution of negative returns. There is also some evidence of negative returns around earnings announcements for firms that previously issued guidance, suggesting that guidance does not entirely correct optimistic earnings expectations. To provide additional insight into the strength of the guidance effect, we show that the market reacts more strongly to surprises, particularly negative surprises, following high-sentiment periods. Finally, firms with higher transient institutional ownership are less likely to guide, and their guidance is less likely to contain bad news following high-sentiment periods, indicating that managers with a short-term focus are hesitant to correct optimistic market expectations.
  • Publication
    Information Asymmetry, Information Precision, and the Cost of Capital
    (2012-01-01) Lambert, Richard A; Leuz, Christian; Verrecchia, Robert E
    This paper examines the relation between information differences across investors (i.e., information asymmetry) and the cost of capital and establishes that with perfect competition information asymmetry makes no difference. Instead, a firm’s cost of capital is governed solely by the average precision of investors’ information. With imperfect competition, however, information asymmetry affects the cost of capital even after controlling for investors’ average precision. In other words, the capital market’s degree of competition plays a critical role for the relation between information asymmetry and the cost of capital. This point is important to empirical research in finance and accounting.
  • Publication
    Hedge Funds: Pricing Controls and the Smoothing of Self-Reported Returns
    (2011-01-01) Cassar, Gavin; Gerakos, Joseph
    We investigate the extent to which hedge fund managers smooth self-reported returns. In contrast to prior research on the “anomalous” properties of hedge fund returns, we observe the mechanisms used to price the fund's investment positions and report the fund's performance to investors, thereby allowing us to differentiate between asset illiquidity and misreporting-based explanations. We find that funds using less verifiable pricing sources and funds that provide managers with greater discretion in pricing investment positions are more likely to have returns consistent with intentional smoothing. Traditional controls, however, such as removing the manager from the setting and reporting of the fund's net asset value and the use of reputable auditors and administrators, are not associated with lower levels of smoothing. With respect to asset illiquidity versus misreporting, investment style and portfolio characteristics explain 14.0–24.3% of the variation in our smoothing measures, and pricing controls explain an additional 4.1–8.8%, suggesting that asset illiquidity is the major factor driving the anomalous properties of self-reported hedge fund returns.
  • Publication
    The Directors' and Officers' Insurance Premium: An Outside Assessment of the Quality of Corporate Governance
    (2000-01-01) Core, John E
    Using a sample of directors' and officers' (D & O) premiums gathered from the proxy statements of Canadian companies, this article examines the D & O premium as a measure of ex ante litigation risk. I find a significant association between D & O premiums and variables that proxy for the quality of firms' governance structures. The association between the proxies for governance structure quality and D & O premiums is robust to a number of alternative specifications. This article provides confirmatory evidence that the D & O premium reflects the quality of the firm's corporate governance by showing that measures of weak governance implied by the D & O premium are positively related to excess CEO compensation. The overall results suggest that D & O premiums contain useful information about the quality of firms' governance.
  • Publication
    Factor-Loading Uncertainty and Expected Returns
    (2013-01-01) Armstrong, Christopher S; Banerjee, Snehal; Corona, Carlos
    Firm-specific information can affect expected returns if it affects investor uncertainty about risk-factor loadings. We show that a stock's expected return is decreasing in factor-loading uncertainty, controlling for the average level of its factor loading. When loadings are persistent, learning by investors can induce time-series variation in price-dividend ratios, expected returns, and idiosyncratic volatility, even when the aggregate risk-premium is constant and fundamental shocks are homoscedastic. Consistent with our predictions, we estimate that average annual returns of a firm with the median level of factor-loading uncertainty are 400 to 525 basis points lower than a comparable firm without factor-loading uncertainty.
  • Publication
    Market-to-Revenue Multiples in Public and Private Capital Markets
    (2011-04-01) Armstrong, Christopher S; Davila, Antonio; Foster, George; Hand, John R. M
    The behavior and determinants of market-to-revenue ratios in public and private capital markets is examined. Three samples are analysed: (1) all publicly traded stocks listed at some time on the New York Stock Exchange/American Stock Exchange/National Association of Securities Dealers Automated Quotation System in the 1980—2004 period; (2) sample of over 300 so-called ‘internet companies’ in the 1996—2004 period; and (3) over 5500 privately held venture capital-backed companies in the 1992—2004 period. Both company size and the most recent revenue growth rate are found to explain significant variation across companies in their market-to-revenue multiples — smaller companies and companies with higher recent revenue growth rates have higher multiples. We also document how the capital market appears to use a broad-based information set when setting market-to-revenue multiples for companies with negative revenue growth rates — transitory revenue growth components appear to be identified (in a probabilistic sense) by the capital market. Contrary to much anecdotal comment, we present evidence that the capital market behaved directionally along the lines predicted by capital market theory in the pricing of internet stocks in the 1996—2004 period.