Chicanery, Intelligence, and Financial Market Equilibrium
We present a dynamic model of production in which a firm’s output increases when its managers share their information. Communication of ideas depends on the quality of the firm’s internal language. We prove that firms with richer languages (i.e., more organizational capital) will have higher market values. Organizational capital generates static complementarities among incumbents which implies that firms with richer languages will experience greater employee retention and higher wages. Dynamic complementarities between intertemporal investments in language generate long-run persistence in firm market-to-book and turnover ratios. We demonstrate that the optimal compensation of incumbents includes an earnings-insensitive component that is larger in firms with richer languages. In a simple model of mergers, we show that the most value-creating mergers are those between firms with highly disparate languages.