Working Papers

Working papers authored by Tuck professors may be found via the Tuck faculty directory, personal faculty websites, or the Social Science Research Network.

All working papers are copyrighted by the authors. For permission to reproduce or to request a copy of a paper, please contact the author directly. To locate a professor's profile, visit the Faculty Directory.

Social Science Research Network

The Social Science Research Network website hosts a database of working papers authored or co-authored by Tuck faculty. To access these papers, visit the Tuck Research Paper Series


Richard Townsend & Kelly Shue

Growth Through Rigidity: An Explanation of the Rise of CEO Pay, April 2014
Abstract: We explore a rigidity-based explanation of the dramatic and off-trend growth in US executive compensation during the 1990s and early 2000s. We show that executive option and stock grants are rigid in the number of shares granted. In addition, salary and bonus exhibit downward nominal rigidity. Rigidity implies that the value of executive pay will grow with firm equity returns, which averaged 30% annually during the Tech Boom. Rigidity can also explain the increased dispersion in pay, the difference in growth rates between the US and other countries, and the increased correlation between pay and firm-specific equity returns. Regulatory changes requiring the disclosure of the value of option grants help explain the moderation in executive pay in the late 2000s. Finally, we find suggestive evidence that number-rigidity in executive pay is generated by money illusion and rule-of-thumb decision-making. Download PDF.

Margaret P. Pierson

Price Competition Under Mixed Multinomial Logit Demand Functions, March 2014
In this paper, we postulate a general class of price competition models with mixed multinomial logit demand functions under affine cost functions. In these models, the market is partitioned into a finite set of market segments. We characterize the equilibrium behavior of this class of models in the case where each product in the market is sold by a separate, independent firm. We identify a simple and very broadly satisfied condition under which a pure Nash equilibrium exists and the set of Nash equilibria coincides with the solutions of the system of first-order-condition equations, a property of essential importance to empirical studies. This condition specifies that in every market segment, each firm captures less than 50% of the potential customer population when pricing at a specific level that, under the condition, is an upper bound for a rational price choice for the firm irrespective of the competitors' prices. We show that under a somewhat stronger, but still broadly satisfied, version of the above condition, a unique equilibrium exists. We complete the picture by establishing the existence of a Nash equilibrium, indeed a unique Nash equilibrium, for markets with an arbitrary degree of concentration, under sufficiently tight price bounds. We discuss how our results extend to a continuum of customer types. A discussion of the multiproduct case is included. The paper concludes with a discussion of implications for structural estimation methods. Download PDF.

Kenneth R. French with the Squam Lake Group

Aligning Incentives at Systemically Important Financial Institutions, March 2013
Abstract: UBS recently announced it would pay part of the bonuses of 6,500 highly compensated employees with bonds that would be forfeited if the bank does not meet its capital requirements. This memo underscores the benefits of contingent deferred compensation and makes recommendations for how such compensation should be structured at systemically important institutions. We also revise our proposal for contingent convertible bonds, explaining how these hybrid bonds can be combined with better designs for deferred compensation to reduce the need for future bailouts. Download PDF.

Emily Blanchard & Gerald Willman

Trade, Education and the Shrinking Middle Class, February 2013
We develop a new model of trade in which educational institutions drive comparative advantage and determine the distribution of human capital within and across countries. Our framework exploits a multiplicity of sectors and the continuous support of human capital choices to demonstrate that freer trade can induce crowding out of the middle occupations towards the skill acquisition extremes in one country, and simultaneous expansion of middle-income industries in another. Individual gains from trade may be non-monotonic in workers' ability, and middle ability agents can lose the most from trade liberalization. Comparing trade and education policy, we nd that targeted education subsidies are more e ective than tari s as a means to preserve \middle class" jobs, while uniform educational subsidies have no e ect. Download PDF.

Rafael La Porta

Human Capital and Regional Development, April 2012
We investigate the determinants of regional development using a newly constructed database of 1569 sub-national regions from 110 countries covering 74 percent of the world’s surface and 97 percent of its GDP. We combine the cross-regional analysis of geographic, institutional, cultural, and human capital determinants of regional development with an examination of productivity in several thousand establishments located in these regions. To organize the discussion, we present a new model of regional development that introduces into a standard migration framework elements of both the Lucas (1978) model of the allocation of talent between entrepreneurship and work, and the Lucas (1988) model of human capital externalities. The evidence points to the paramount importance of human capital in accounting for regional differences in development, but also suggests from model estimation and calibration that entrepreneurial inputs and possibly human capital externalities help understand the data. Download PDF.