- CEO replacement under private information (2009)
- We study a model of “information-based entrenchment” in which the CEO has private information that the board needs to make an efficient replacement decision. Eliciting the CEO’s private information is costly, as it implies that the board must pay the CEO both higher severance pay and higher on-the-job pay. While higher CEO pay is associated with higher turnover in our model, there is too little turnover in equilibrium. Our model makes novel empirical predictions relating CEO turnover, severance pay, and on-the-job pay to firm-level attributes such as size, corporate governance, and the quality of the firm’s accounting system.
- Early-stage financing and firm growth in new industries (2009)
- This paper shows that active investors, such as venture capitalists, can affect the speed at which new ventures grow. In the absence of product market competition, new ventures financed by active investors grow faster initially, though in the long run those financed by passive investors are able to catch up. By contrast, in a competitive product market, new ventures financed by active investors may prey on rivals that are financed by passive investors by “strategically overinvesting” early on, resulting in long-run differences in investment, profits, and firm growth. The value of active investors is greater in highly competitive industries as well as in industries with learning curves, economies of scope, and network effects, as is typical for many “new economy” industries. For such industries, our model predicts that start-ups with access to venture capital may dominate their industry peers in the long run. JEL Classifications: G24; G32 Keywords: Venture capital; dynamic investment; product market competition
- Bank capital structure and credit decisions (2009)
- This paper argues that banks must be sufficiently levered to have first-best incentives to make new risky loans. This result, which is at odds with the notion that leverage invariably leads to excessive risk taking, derives from two key premises that focus squarely on the role of banks as informed lenders. First, banks finance projects that they do not own, which implies that they cannot extract all the profits. Second, banks conduct a credit risk analysis before making new loans. Our model may help understand why banks take on additional unsecured debt, such as unsecured deposits and subordinated loans, over and above their existing deposit base. It may also help understand why banks and finance companies have similar leverage ratios, even though the latter are not deposit takers and hence not subject to the same regulatory capital requirements as banks.
- Financing a portfolio of projects (2009)
- This article shows that investors financing a portfolio of projects may use the depth of their financial pockets to overcome entrepreneurial incentive problems. Competition for scarce informed capital at the refinancing stage strengthens investors’ bargaining positions. And yet, entrepreneurs’ incentives may be improved, because projects funded by investors with ‘‘shallow pockets’’ must have not only a positive net present value at the refinancing stage, but one that is higher than that of competing portfolio projects. Our article may help understand provisions used in venture capital finance that limit a fund’s initial capital and make it difficult to add more capital once the initial venture capital fund is raised. (JEL G24, G31)