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Firm Value and Managerial Incentives: A Stochastic Frontier Approach

Michel Habib, Alexander Ljungqvist

Abstract

We examine the relation between firm value and managerial incentives in a sample of 1,487 U.S. firms in 1992-1997, for which the separation of ownership and control is complete. Unlike previous studies, we employ a measure of relative performance which compares a firmís actual Tobinís Q to the Q of a hypothetical fully-efficientfirm having the same inputs and characteristics as the original firm. We find that the Q of the average firm in our sample is around 10% lower than its Q, equivalent to a $1,340 million reduction in its potential market value. We investigate what causes firms to fail to reach their Q and find that our firms are more efficient, the higher are CEO stockholdings and optionholdings and the more sensitive are CEO options to firm risk. We also show that boards respond to inefficiency by subsequently strengthening incentives or replacing inefficient CEOs.

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