Monday, May 30, 2011

Managerial ownership, entrenchment and innovation

Posted by D. Daniel Sokol

Mila Beyer, Dirk Czarnitzki, and Kornelius Kraft (ZEW) have an interesting paper on Managerial ownership, entrenchment and innovation.

ABSTRACT: Principle-agent theory suggests managers might under-invest into R&D for reasons of risk tied to project failure, such as reduced remuneration and job loss. However, managers might over-invest into innovation for reasons of growth implying higher remuneration, power and prestige. Using a sample of 1,406 Belgian firms, we find, first, that managers holding no company shares under-invest into R&D compared to owners giving rise to the risk argument. Second, we find an inverse u-shaped relationship between the degree of managerial ownership and R&D. Thus, managers become entrenched, i.e. powerful enough to pursue their own interests. When entrenched, managers do not fear detrimental effects of risky innovation projects on their career, and hence tend to over-invest into innovation.

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