Indjejikian and Nanda (J. Accounting and Economics 27 (1999) 177) establish that “lack of commitment” results in an expected economic loss, relative to a long-term full-commitment contract, if there is inter-period correlation of performance measures. They attribute this loss to a “ratchet effect”. We demonstrate the following. First, their proposed equilibrium is not sustained unless there is some form of limited commitment. Second, these limited commitment assumptions need not induce a “ratchet effect”. Third, the “ratchet effect” is neither necessary nor sufficient for an expected economic loss to occur—the loss is due to the principal's inability to commit ex ante to the second-period incentive rate.
Journal of Accounting and Economics – Elsevier
Published: Aug 1, 2003
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