Top publication by Kvaløy and Olsen

8 November 2022 12:16

Top publication by Kvaløy and Olsen

The article "Balanced Scorecards: A Relational Contract Approach" has been published in Journal of Accounting Research.

Journal of Accounting Research is included on the NHH Bonus list and on the Financial Times Research Rank List, and it is also on level 4* in the ABS Academic Journal Guide.

Kvaløy, Ola, and Trond E. Olsen: Balanced Scorecards: A Relational Contract Approach, Journal of Accounting Research, Online 19.10.2022.


Reward systems based on balanced scorecards often connect pay to an index, i.e. a weighted sum of multiple performance measures. We show that such an index contract may indeed be optimal if performance measures are non-verifiable so that the contracting parties must rely on self-enforcement. Under commonly invoked assumptions (including normally distributed measurements), we show that the weights in the index reflect a trade-off between distortion and precision for the measures.

The efficiency of the contract improves with higher precision of the index measure, since this strengthens incentives, and correlations between measurements may for this reason be beneficial. There is a caveat, however, since the index contract is not necessarily optimal for very precise measurements, although it is shown to be asymptotically optimal.

We also consider hybrid measurements, and show that the principal may want to include verifiable performance measures in the relational index contract in order to improve incentives, and that this has noteworthy implications for the formal contract.