Discussion paper

DP15602 Organizational Structure and Investment Strategy

We show that a firm can use its organizational structure to commit to an investment strategy. The firmdelegates sequential search and project management tasks to a manager. Ex post, the firm turns away projects that generate high project management rent. However, because the expectation of such rent serves to defray the manager’s search cost, investment might be optimal ex ante. A leveraged subsidiary mitigates this time-inconsistency problem by creating ex post risk-shifting incentives that counteract underinvestment. Subsidiaries are more valuable for projects with costly search, intermediate management costs, and returns that are uncorrelated with the existing business.


Lóránth, G, A Morrison and J Zeng (2020), ‘DP15602 Organizational Structure and Investment Strategy‘, CEPR Discussion Paper No. 15602. CEPR Press, Paris & London. https://cepr.org/publications/dp15602