Capital allocation and delegation of decision-making authority within firms

Scholarly Edition

We use a unique data set that contains information on more than 1,000 Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) and Chief Financial Officers (CFOs) around the world to investigate the degree to which executives delegate financial decisions and the circumstances that drive variation in delegation. Delegation does not appear to be monolithic; instead, our results show that it varies across corporate policies and also varies with the personal characteristics of the CEO. We find that CEOs delegate financial decisions for which they need the most input, when they are overloaded, and when they are distracted by recent acquisitions. CEOs delegate less when they are knowledgeable (long-tenured or with a finance background). Capital is allocated based on "gut feel" and the personal reputation of the manager running a given division. Finally, corporate politics and corporate socialism affect capital allocation in European and Asian firms.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Graham, JR; Harvey, CR; Puri, M

Published Date

  • March 1, 2015

Start / End Page

  • 449 - 470

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1016/j.jfineco.2014.10.011

Citation Source

  • Scopus