We study a principal-agent model in which there is an option to defer a capital project approval decision. A control (incentive) problem makes the option to wait valuable when it would not have been valuable otherwise. Deferring the project approval decision has both a cost and a benefit. The cost of waiting is that the agent’s uncertainty regarding future project cost realizations cannot be exploited. However, by delaying the first project’s approval decision, the principal can condition its approval on the agent's cost report of the second project. Such conditioning can be valuable in the provision of incentives because of a diversification effect.
Journal of Accounting Researchvol.
39, (January 01, 2001):