Dirk Hackbarth, Alejandro Rivera, Tak-Yuen Wong, 19 December 2018

For decades, academics and practitioners alike have argued that companies do not implement long-term strategies and that shareholders must cure the disease of short-termism to maximise shareholder value. This column examines the perils of short-termism in the context of investment policies and managers’ incentivisation. It finds that shareholder value maximisation for a typical S&P500 firm is not as straightforward as ‘no short-termism’, and depends on firm and investor characteristics.

Alex Edmans, Vivian Fang, Allen Huang, 07 November 2017

Worries about the dangers of short-term incentives for CEOs are rarely backed by rigorous evidence. This column uses data over a ten-year period to show that short-term contracts lead CEOs to undertake repurchases and M&A activity that have negative long-term consequences. The results suggest that the horizon of CEO incentives is a more important dimension to reform than the size of pay packets.

Alex Edmans, Clifford Holderness, 15 September 2016

The separation of ownership and control for public firms may lead to fully dispersed ownership where no shareholder has an incentive to engage in governance. This column argues that blockholders (owners of large stakes) play a critical role in long-term governance, partly through a credible threat to sell their stakes. This threat is undermined by well-intentioned policy moves to create holding-period incentives and requirements. If they succeed, these policies will make exit less likely and blockholders will lose a method to discipline managers.

Pascal Lamy, Ian Goldin, 28 March 2014

Excessive short-termism is always a problem for policy, but the Global Crisis has brought it sharply into focus. This column introduces a report that discusses how a shift to longer-term solutions is necessary and possible. A key message is that businesses as well as governments need to take a longer-term view. The report identifies ways to overcome the current impasse in key economic, climate, trade, security, and other negotiations.

Vox eBooks

Events

CEPR Policy Research