A Theory of Firm Decline

We study the problem of an investor that buys an equity stake in an entrepreneurial venture, under the assumption that the former cannot monitor the latter’s operations. The dynamics implied by the optimal incentive scheme is rich and quite different from that induced by other models of repeated moral hazard. In particular, our framework generates a rationale for firm decline. As young firms accumulate capital, the claims of both investor (outside equity) and entrepreneur (inside equity) increase. At some juncture, however, even as the latter keeps on growing, invested capital and firm value start declining and so does the value of outside equity. The reason is that incentive provision is costlier the wealthier the entrepreneur (the greater is inside equity). In turn, this leads to a decline in the constrained–efficient level of effort and therefore to a drop in the return to investment.


Issue Date:
2010-08
Publication Type:
Working or Discussion Paper
DOI and Other Identifiers:
Record Identifier:
https://ageconsearch.umn.edu/record/92788
PURL Identifier:
http://purl.umn.edu/92788
Total Pages:
47
JEL Codes:
D82; D86; D92; G32
Series Statement:
IM
88.2010




 Record created 2017-04-01, last modified 2019-08-26

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