On the Effects of the Degree of Discretion in Reporting Managerial performance

A.M.B. De Waegenaere, J.L. Wielhouwer

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We consider a principal-agent setting in which a manager’s compensation de- pends on a noisy performance signal, and the manager is granted the right to choose an (accounting) method to determine the value of the performance signal. We study the effect of the degree of such reporting discretion, measured by the number of acceptable methods, on the optimal contract, the expected cost of com- pensation and the manager’s expected utility. We find that while an increase in reporting discretion never harms the manager, the effect on the expected cost of compensation is more subtle. We identify three main effects of increased report- ing discretion and characterize the conditions under which the aggregate of these three effects will lead to a higher or lower cost of compensation.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationTilburg
Number of pages33
Publication statusPublished - 2008

Publication series

NameCentER Discussion Paper


  • managerial compensation
  • reporting flexibility


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