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Technological change and the growing inequality in managerial compensation

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  • Lustig, Hanno
  • Syverson, Chad
  • Van Nieuwerburgh, Stijn

Abstract

Three of the most fundamental changes in US corporations since the early 1970s have been (1) the increased importance of organizational capital in production, (2) the increase in managerial income inequality and pay-performance sensitivity, and (3) the secular decrease in labor market reallocation. Our paper develops a simple explanation for these changes: a shift in the composition of productivity growth away from vintage-specific to general growth. This shift has stimulated the accumulation of organizational capital in existing firms and reduced the need for reallocating workers to new firms. We characterize the optimal managerial compensation contract when firms accumulate organizational capital but risk-averse managers cannot commit to staying with the firm. A calibrated version of the model reproduces the increase in managerial compensation inequality and the increased sensitivity of pay to performance in the data over the last three decades. This increased sensitivity of compensation to performance provides large, successful firms with the glue to retain their managers and the organizational capital embedded in them.

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Bibliographic Info

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

Volume (Year): 99 (2011)
Issue (Month): 3 (March)
Pages: 601-627

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Handle: RePEc:eee:jfinec:v:99:y:2011:i:3:p:601-627

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

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Keywords: Corporate payout policy Organizational capital Labor reallocation Managerial compensation Pay-for-performance sensitivity;

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Cited by:
  1. Bernard Herskovic & Bryan T. Kelly & Hanno Lustig & Stijn Van Nieuwerburgh, 2014. "The Common Factor in Idiosyncratic Volatility: Quantitative Asset Pricing Implications," NBER Working Papers 20076, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Lagakos, David & Ordoñez, Guillermo L., 2011. "Which workers get insurance within the firm?," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 58(6), pages 632-645.
  3. Geoffrey Tate & Liu Yang, 2013. "The Bright Side Of Corporate Diversification: Evidence From Internal Labor Markets," Working Papers 13-40, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
  4. Camelia M. Kuhnen & Andrea L. Eisfeldt, 2010. "CEO Turnover in a Competitive Assignment Framework," 2010 Meeting Papers 1081, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  5. Edmond, Chris & Veldkamp, Laura, 2009. "Income dispersion and counter-cyclical markups," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 56(6), pages 791-804, September.

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