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Are U.S. CEOs Paid More Than U.K. CEOs? Inferences from Risk-adjusted Pay

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  • Martin J. Conyon
  • John E. Core
  • Wayne R. Guay

Abstract

We compute and compare risk-adjusted CEO pay in the United States and United Kingdom, where the risk adjustment is based on estimated risk premiums stemming from the equity incentives borne by CEOs. Controlling for firm and industry characteristics, we find that U.S. CEOs have higher pay, but also bear much higher stock and option incentives than U.K. CEOs. Using reasonable estimates of risk premiums, we find that risk-adjusted U.S. CEO pay does not appear to be large compared to that of U.K. CEOs. We also examine differences in pay and equity incentives between a sample of non-U.K. European CEOs and a matched sample of U.S. CEOs, and find that risk-adjusting pay may explain about half of the apparent higher pay for U.S. CEOs. The Author 2011. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of The Society for Financial Studies. All rights reserved. For Permissions, please e-mail: journals.permissions@oxfordjournals.org., Oxford University Press.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Society for Financial Studies in its journal Review of Financial Studies.

Volume (Year): 24 (2011)
Issue (Month): 2 ()
Pages: 402-438

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Handle: RePEc:oup:rfinst:v:24:y:2011:i:2:p:402-438

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Cited by:
  1. Custódio, Cláudia & Ferreira, Miguel A. & Matos, Pedro, 2013. "Generalists versus specialists: Lifetime work experience and chief executive officer pay," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 108(2), pages 471-492.
  2. Steven N. Kaplan, 2012. "Executive Compensation and Corporate Governance in the U.S.: Perceptions, Facts and Challenges," NBER Working Papers 18395, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Giannetti, Mariassunta, 2011. "Serial CEO incentives and the structure of managerial contracts," Journal of Financial Intermediation, Elsevier, vol. 20(4), pages 633-662, October.
  4. Croci, Ettore & Gonenc, Halit & Ozkan, Neslihan, 2012. "CEO compensation, family control, and institutional investors in Continental Europe," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 36(12), pages 3318-3335.
  5. 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.
  6. Hongfei Tang, 2014. "Are CEO stock option grants optimal? Evidence from family firms and non-family firms around the Sarbanes–Oxley Act," Review of Quantitative Finance and Accounting, Springer, vol. 42(2), pages 251-292, February.
  7. Conyon, Martin J. & He, Lerong, 2011. "Executive compensation and corporate governance in China," Journal of Corporate Finance, Elsevier, vol. 17(4), pages 1158-1175, September.
  8. Livne, Gilad & Markarian, Garen & Mironov, Maxim, 2013. "Investment horizon, risk, and compensation in the banking industry," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 37(9), pages 3669-3680.
  9. Moritz Heimes & Steffen Seemann, 2012. "Which Pay for what Performance? Evidence from Executive Compensation in Germany and the United States," Working Paper Series of the Department of Economics, University of Konstanz 2012-29, Department of Economics, University of Konstanz.

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