2015 GCGC

5-6 June 2015

Seeking Alpha: Excess Risk Taking and Competition for Managerial Talent


Viral Acharya

C.V.Starr Professor of Economics


Luca Enriques

University of Oxford


We present a model where firms compete for scarce managerial talent (“alpha”) and managers are risk-averse. When managers cannot move across firms after being hired, employers learn about their talent, allocate them efficiently to projects and provide insurance to low-quality managers. When instead managers can move across firms, firm-level coinsurance is no longer feasible, but managers may self-insure by switching employer to delay the revelation of their true quality. However this results in inefficient project assignment, with low quality managers handling too risky projects. The model has several empirical predictions and policy implications.

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