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Company Flexibility, the Value of Management and Managerial Compensation

The variation in managerial compensation across countries and industries for firms of similar size is staggering. We analyze this phenomenon in a continuous time model of the firm, where the economic environment evolves stochastically over time and where changes to the firm operations are costly. The underlying idea is that managers in different countries and industries are compensated very differently, not necessarily because their skills differ substantially, but rather because the scope for management to add value to the firms varies substantially. If adjustment costs are low, or if the economic environment is relatively volatile, then the potential value-added from active management is larger. The positive relationship between economic environment volatility and the value of management suggests a real options interpretation of the manager: Active management can be viewed as a real option to make changes in the production plan. Our model shows that the higher the volatility of the economy, the larger the value of this real option.
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