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Does the use of peer groups contribute to higher pay and less efficient compensation?

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  • Bizjak, John M.
  • Lemmon, Michael L.
  • Naveen, Lalitha
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    Abstract

    We provide empirical evidence on how the practice of competitive benchmarking affects chief executive officer (CEO) pay. We find that the use of benchmarking is widespread and has a significant impact on CEO compensation. One view is that benchmarking is inefficient because it can lead to increases in executive pay not tied to firm performance. A contrasting view is that benchmarking is a practical and efficient mechanism used to gauge the market wage necessary to retain valuable human capital. Our empirical results generally support the latter view. Our findings also suggest that the documented asymmetry in the relationship between CEO pay and luck is explained by the firm's desire to adjust pay for retention purposes and is not the result of rent-seeking behavior on the part of the CEO.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Financial Economics.

    Volume (Year): 90 (2008)
    Issue (Month): 2 (November)
    Pages: 152-168

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:jfinec:v:90:y:2008:i:2:p:152-168

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    Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/505576

    Related research

    Keywords: Executive compensation Benchmarking CEO pay;

    References

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    Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
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    1. Brian J. Hall, 2003. "Six Challenges in Designing Equity-Based Pay," NBER Working Papers 9887, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Bengt Holmstrom & Steven N. Kaplan, 2003. "The State Of U.S. Corporate Governance: What'S Right And What'S Wrong?," Journal of Applied Corporate Finance, Morgan Stanley, vol. 15(3), pages 8-20.
    3. Paul A. Gompers & Joy L. Ishii & Andrew Metrick, 2002. "Corporate Governance and Equity Prices," Center for Financial Institutions Working Papers 02-32, Wharton School Center for Financial Institutions, University of Pennsylvania.
    4. Warner, Jerold B. & Watts, Ross L. & Wruck, Karen H., 1988. "Stock prices and top management changes," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 20(1-2), pages 461-492, January.
    5. Xavier Gabaix & Augustin Landier, 2008. "Why Has CEO Pay Increased So Much?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 123(1), pages 49-100, 02.
    6. Weisbach, Michael S., 1988. "Outside directors and CEO turnover," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 20(1-2), pages 431-460, January.
    7. Paul Oyer, 2000. "Why Do Firms Use Incentives that Have No Incentive Effects?," Econometric Society World Congress 2000 Contributed Papers 1440, Econometric Society.
    8. Kevin J. Murphy & Jan Zabojnik, 2006. "Managerial Capital and the Market for CEOs," Working Papers 1110, Queen's University, Department of Economics.
    9. Jensen, M.C. & Murphy, K.J., 1988. "Performance Pay And Top Management Incentives," Papers 88-04, Rochester, Business - Managerial Economics Research Center.
    10. Brickley, James A. & Coles, Jeffrey L. & Terry, Rory L., 1994. "Outside directors and the adoption of poison pills," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 35(3), pages 371-390, June.
    11. Brian J. Hall & Jeffrey B. Liebman, 1997. "Are CEOs Really Paid Like Bureaucrats?," NBER Working Papers 6213, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    12. Milton Harris & Bengt Holmstrom, 1981. "A Theory of Wage Dynamics," Discussion Papers 488, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
    13. Marianne Bertrand & Sendhil Mullainathan, 2001. "Are Ceos Rewarded For Luck? The Ones Without Principals Are," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 116(3), pages 901-932, August.
    14. Garvey, Gerald T. & Milbourn, Todd T., 2006. "Asymmetric benchmarking in compensation: Executives are rewarded for good luck but not penalized for bad," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 82(1), pages 197-225, October.
    15. Rajesh Aggarwal & Andrew A. Samwick, 1998. "The Other Side of the Tradeoff: The Impact of Risk on Executive Compensation," NBER Working Papers 6634, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    16. Borokhovich, Kenneth A. & Parrino, Robert & Trapani, Teresa, 1996. "Outside Directors and CEO Selection," Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, Cambridge University Press, vol. 31(03), pages 337-355, September.
    17. C. Edward Fee, 2003. "Raids, Rewards, and Reputations in the Market for Managerial Talent," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 16(4), pages 1315-1357.
    18. Murphy, Kevin J. & Zimmerman, Jerold L., 1993. "Financial performance surrounding CEO turnover," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 16(1-3), pages 273-315, April.
    19. Brian J. Hall, 2003. "Six Challenges In Designing Equity-Based Pay," Journal of Applied Corporate Finance, Morgan Stanley, vol. 15(3), pages 21-33.
    20. Murphy, Kevin J., 1999. "Executive compensation," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 38, pages 2485-2563 Elsevier.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:
    1. Martijn Cremers & Yaniv Grinstein, 2009. "The Market for CEO Talent: Implications for CEO Compensation," Yale School of Management Working Papers amz2385, Yale School of Management, revised 01 Sep 2009.
    2. Bereskin, Frederick L. & Cicero, David C., 2013. "CEO compensation contagion: Evidence from an exogenous shock," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 107(2), pages 477-493.
    3. Kini, Omesh & Williams, Ryan, 2012. "Tournament incentives, firm risk, and corporate policies," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 103(2), pages 350-376.
    4. Liljeblom, Eva & Pasternack, Daniel & Rosenberg, Matts, 2011. "What determines stock option contract design?," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 102(2), pages 293-316.
    5. Werner, Peter & Bolton, Gary & Ockenfels, Axel, 2013. "How managerial wage transparency may reduce shareholder returns Evidence from an experiment," Annual Conference 2013 (Duesseldorf): Competition Policy and Regulation in a Global Economic Order 79766, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    6. Carola Frydman, 2008. "Learning from the Past: Trends in Executive Compensation over the Twentieth Century," CESifo Working Paper Series 2460, CESifo Group Munich.
    7. Denis, David J. & Xu, Jin, 2013. "Insider trading restrictions and top executive compensation," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 56(1), pages 91-112.
    8. Faulkender, Michael & Yang, Jun, 2010. "Inside the black box: The role and composition of compensation peer groups," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 96(2), pages 257-270, May.
    9. Albuquerque, Ana M. & De Franco, Gus & Verdi, Rodrigo S., 2013. "Peer choice in CEO compensation," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 108(1), pages 160-181.
    10. Francis, Bill & Hasan, Iftekhar & Sharma, Zenu, 2011. "Incentives and innovation: evidence from CEO compensation contracts," Research Discussion Papers 17/2011, Bank of Finland.
    11. Geiler, P.H.M., 2012. "Essays on executive remuneration contracting: Managerial power, corporate payout, and gender discrimination," Open Access publications from Tilburg University urn:nbn:nl:ui:12-5590842, Tilburg University.
    12. Brookman, Jeffrey T. & Thistle, Paul D., 2013. "Managerial compensation: Luck, skill or labor markets?," Journal of Corporate Finance, Elsevier, vol. 21(C), pages 252-268.
    13. Hanno Lustig & Chad Syverson & Stijn Van Nieuwerburgh, 2009. "Technological Change and the Growing Inequality in Managerial Compensation," NBER Working Papers 14661, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    14. Francis, Bill & Hasan, Iftekhar & John, Kose & Sharma, Zenu, 2013. "Asymmetric benchmarking of pay in firms," Journal of Corporate Finance, Elsevier, vol. 23(C), pages 39-53.
    15. Hayes, Rachel M. & Schaefer, Scott, 2009. "CEO pay and the Lake Wobegon Effect," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 94(2), pages 280-290, November.
    16. Francis, Bill & Hasan, Iftekhar & John, Kose & Waisman , Maya, 2012. "Urban agglomeration and CEO compensation," Research Discussion Papers 17/2012, Bank of Finland.
    17. Bizjak, John & Lemmon, Michael & Nguyen, Thanh, 2011. "Are all CEOs above average? An empirical analysis of compensation peer groups and pay design," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 100(3), pages 538-555, June.

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