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Fighting Fire with Fire: Optimality of Value Destruction to Mitigate Short-Termism

Adrian Aycan Corum

No xhwmg, OSF Preprints from Center for Open Science

Abstract: I study a model of short-termism where a firm's value is affected by the actions of an agent, who can represent the manager or the board, as well as an entrepreneur, venture capital, private equity, or activist shareholder. The agent either has a project with positive NPV and can further increase the NPV by exerting effort, or has a project that destroys value. The agent has a stake in the company and can liquidate it before the NPV of his actions is realized by the market. This ability to exit creates short-term incentives for the agent to not exert effort, as well as opportunities for him to profit even if he is destroying value. I find that replacing a fraction of agents that have positive NPV projects with value-destroying agents can increase average firm value, because it motivates the value-creating agents to work harder and this effect can dominate the added value destruction. Moreover, this result also holds under endogenous entry of agents: Reducing the entry or operating costs for the agents can increase average firm value and gross value destruction simultaneously, even though the fraction of agents with positive NPV projects decreases. Therefore, regulations that aim mitigating short-termism by curbing value destruction can actually yield opposite results and reduce average firm value instead.

Date: 2021-03-15
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-ppm
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DOI: 10.31219/

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