Advanced Search
MyIDEAS: Login

Why Has CEO Pay Increased So Much?

Contents:

Author Info

  • Xavier Gabaix

    (New York University and National Bureau of Economic Research)

  • Augustin Landier

    (New York University)

Abstract

This paper develops a simple equilibrium model of CEO pay. CEOs have different talents and are matched to firms in a competitive assignment model. In market equilibrium, a CEO's pay depends on both the size of his firm and the aggregate firm size. The model determines the level of CEO pay across firms and over time, offering a benchmark for calibratable corporate finance. We find a very small dispersion in CEO talent, which nonetheless justifies large pay differences. In recent decades at least, the size of large firms explains many of the patterns in CEO pay, across firms, over time, and between countries. In particular, in the baseline specification of the model's parameters, the sixfold increase of U.S. CEO pay between 1980 and 2003 can be fully attributed to the sixfold increase in market capitalization of large companies during that period. (c) 2008 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology..

Download Info

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
File URL: http://www.mitpressjournals.org/doi/pdfplus/10.1162/qjec.2008.123.1.49
File Function: link to full text
Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.

As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.

Bibliographic Info

Article provided by MIT Press in its journal Quarterly Journal of Economics.

Volume (Year): 123 (2008)
Issue (Month): 1 (02)
Pages: 49-100

as in new window
Handle: RePEc:tpr:qjecon:v:123:y:2008:i:1:p:49-100

Contact details of provider:
Web page: http://mitpress.mit.edu/journals/

Order Information:
Web: http://mitpress.mit.edu/journal-home.tcl?issn=00335533

Related research

Keywords:

Other versions of this item:

Find related papers by JEL classification:

References

References listed on IDEAS
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.:
as in new window
  1. Nancy L. Rose & Andrea Shepard, 1994. "Firm Diversification and CEO Compensation: Managerial Ability or Executive Entrenchment?," NBER Working Papers 4723, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Peter F. Kostiuk, 1990. "Firm Size and Executive Compensation," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 25(1), pages 90-105.
  3. Laibson, David I. & Gabaix, Xavier, 2006. "Shrouded Attributes, Consumer Myopia, and Information Suppression in Competitive Markets," Scholarly Articles 4554333, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  4. Carola Frydman & Dirk Jenter, 2010. "CEO Compensation," NBER Working Papers 16585, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Paul Gompers & Joy Ishii & Andrew Metrick, 2003. "Corporate Governance And Equity Prices," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 118(1), pages 107-155, February.
  6. Bebchuk, Lucian A. & Fried, Jesse M., 2003. "Executive Compensation as an Agency Problem," Berkeley Olin Program in Law & Economics, Working Paper Series qt81q3136r, Berkeley Olin Program in Law & Economics.
  7. Luis Garicano & Esteban Rossi-Hansberg, 2005. "Organization and Inequality in a Knowledge Economy," NBER Working Papers 11458, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Wilbur G. Lewellen, 1968. "Executive Compensation in Large Industrial Corporations," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number lewe68-1, May.
  9. 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.
  10. Raghuram Rajan & Julie Wulf, 2003. "The Flattening Firm: Evidence from Panel Data on the Changing Nature of Corporate Hierarchies," NBER Working Papers 9633, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Fujiwara, Yoshi & Di Guilmi, Corrado & Aoyama, Hideaki & Gallegati, Mauro & Souma, Wataru, 2004. "Do Pareto–Zipf and Gibrat laws hold true? An analysis with European firms," Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications, Elsevier, vol. 335(1), pages 197-216.
  12. Baker, G.P. & Jensen, M.C. & Murphy, K.J., 1988. "Compensation And Incentives: Practice Vs. Theory," Papers 88-05, Rochester, Business - Managerial Economics Research Center.
  13. Thomas Piketty & Emmanuel Saez, 2006. "The Evolution of Top Incomes: A Historical and International Perspective," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(2), pages 200-205, May.
  14. Jensen, M.C. & Murphy, K.J., 1988. "Performance Pay And Top Management Incentives," Papers 88-04, Rochester, Business - Managerial Economics Research Center.
  15. Sherwin Rosen, 1982. "Authority, Control, and the Distribution of Earnings," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 13(2), pages 311-323, Autumn.
  16. J. M. C. Santos Silva & Silvana Tenreyro, 2006. "The Log of Gravity," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 88(4), pages 641-658, November.
  17. Patrick Bolton & Jose A. Scheinkman & Wei Xiong, 2003. "Executive Compensation and Short-termist Behavior in Speculative Markets," Levine's Working Paper Archive 506439000000000124, David K. Levine.
  18. Sherwin Rosen, 1990. "Contracts and the Market for Executives," NBER Working Papers 3542, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  19. Samuel S. Kortum, 1997. "Research, Patenting, and Technological Change," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 65(6), pages 1389-1420, November.
  20. Fredrik Andersson & Matthew Freedman & John Haltiwanger & Julia Lane & Kathryn Shaw, 2009. "Reaching for the Stars: Who Pays for Talent in Innovative Industries?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 119(538), pages F308-F332, 06.
  21. Xavier Gabaix & Parameswaran Gopikrishnan & Vasiliki Plerou & H. Eugene Stanley, 2005. "Institutional Investors and Stock Market Volatility," NBER Working Papers 11722, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  22. Xavier Gabaix, 1999. "Zipf'S Law For Cities: An Explanation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 114(3), pages 739-767, August.
  23. Jess Benhabib & Alberto Bisin, 2006. "The distribution of wealth and redistributive policies," 2006 Meeting Papers 368, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  24. Rustam Ibragimov, 2005. "A Tale of Two Tails: Peakedness Properties in Inheritance Models of Evolutionary Theory," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 2092, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  25. Brian J. Hall & Kevin J. Murphy, 2003. "The Trouble with Stock Options," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 17(3), pages 49-70, Summer.
  26. Brian J. Hall & Kevin J. Murphy, 2003. "The Trouble with Stock Options," NBER Working Papers 9784, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  27. Kevin J. Murphy & Ján Zábojník, 2004. "CEO Pay and Appointments: A Market-Based Explanation for Recent Trends," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(2), pages 192-196, May.
  28. Rosen, Sherwin, 1981. "The Economics of Superstars," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 71(5), pages 845-58, December.
  29. Xavier Gabaix & David Laibson & Hongyi Li, 2005. "Extreme Value Theory and the Effects of Competition on Profits," Levine's Bibliography 784828000000000656, UCLA Department of Economics.
  30. Andrei Shleifer, 2004. "Does Competition Destroy Ethical Behavior?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(2), pages 414-418, May.
  31. Joskow, Paul L. & Rose, Nancy L. & Shepard, Andrea., 1993. "Regulatory constraints on executive compensation," Working papers 3550-93., Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Sloan School of Management.
  32. Gabaix, Xavier & Ioannides, Yannis M., 2004. "The evolution of city size distributions," Handbook of Regional and Urban Economics, in: J. V. Henderson & J. F. Thisse (ed.), Handbook of Regional and Urban Economics, edition 1, volume 4, chapter 53, pages 2341-2378 Elsevier.
  33. Xavier Gabaix & Rustam Ibragimov, 2007. "Rank-1/2: A Simple Way to Improve the OLS Estimation of Tail Exponents," NBER Technical Working Papers 0342, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  34. Hanno Lustig & Stijn Van Nieuwerburgh, 2008. "The Returns on Human Capital: Good News on Wall Street is Bad News on Main Street," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 21(5), pages 2097-2137, September.
  35. Brian J. Hall & Jeffrey B. Liebman, 1998. "Are CEOs Really Paid Like Bureaucrats?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 113(3), pages 653-691, August.
  36. Bebchuk, Lucian Arye & Fried, Jesse & Walker, David I, 2002. "Managerial Power and Rent Extraction in the Design of Executive Compensation," CEPR Discussion Papers 3558, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  37. James Dow & Clara C. Raposo, 2005. "CEO Compensation, Change, and Corporate Strategy," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 60(6), pages 2701-2727, December.
  38. Rafael La Porta & Florencio Lopez-de-Silane & Andrei Shleifer, 1998. "Corporate Ownership Around the World," NBER Working Papers 6625, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  39. Ulrike Malmendier & Geoffrey Tate, 2008. "Superstar CEOs," NBER Working Papers 14140, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  40. Erzo G.J. Luttmer, 2004. "The size distribution of firms in an economy with fixed and entry costs," Working Papers 633, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  41. Barro, Jason R & Barro, Robert J, 1990. "Pay, Performance, and Turnover of Bank CEOs," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 8(4), pages 448-81, October.
  42. Sattinger, Michael, 1993. "Assignment Models of the Distribution of Earnings," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 31(2), pages 831-80, June.
  43. Kothari, S P & Shanken, Jay & Sloan, Richard G, 1995. " Another Look at the Cross-Section of Expected Stock Returns," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 50(1), pages 185-224, March.
  44. 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.
  45. Garicano, Luis & Hubbard, Thomas N., 2012. "Learning about the nature of production from equilibrium assignment patterns," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 84(1), pages 136-153.
  46. 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.
  47. Kaplan, Steven N, 1994. "Top Executive Rewards and Firm Performance: A Comparison of Japan and the United States," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 102(3), pages 510-46, June.
  48. Charles I. Jones, 2004. "The Shape of Production Function and the Direction of Technical Change," NBER Working Papers 10457, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  49. Fama, Eugene F. & French, Kenneth R., 1997. "Industry costs of equity," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 43(2), pages 153-193, February.
  50. Benjamin E. Hermalin, 2005. "Trends in Corporate Governance," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 60(5), pages 2351-2384, October.
  51. Bebchuk, Lucian Arye & Fried, Jesse, 2003. "Executive Compensation as an Agency Problem," CEPR Discussion Papers 3961, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  52. Conyon, Martin J & Murphy, Kevin J, 2000. "The Prince and the Pauper? CEO Pay in the United States and United Kingdom," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 110(467), pages F640-71, November.
  53. Marko Tervio, 2008. "The Difference That CEOs Make: An Assignment Model Approach," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(3), pages 642-68, June.
  54. Inderst, Roman & Mueller, Holger M, 2005. "Keeping the Board in the Dark: CEO Compensation and Entrenchment," CEPR Discussion Papers 5315, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  55. George P. Baker & Brian J. Hall, 2004. "CEO Incentives and Firm Size," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 22(4), pages 767-798, October.
  56. Cuñat, Vicente & Guadalupe, Maria, 2006. "Globalization and the Provision of Incentives Inside the Firm," CEPR Discussion Papers 5950, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  57. Alan B. Krueger, 2005. "The Economics of Real Superstars: The Market for Rock Concerts in the Material World," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 23(1), pages 1-30, January.
  58. Tano Santos & Pietro Veronesi, 2006. "Labor Income and Predictable Stock Returns," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 19(1), pages 1-44.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

Citations

Blog mentions

As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
  1. Some identification problems in the debate on taxing top earners
    by Stephen Gordon in Worthwhile Canadian Initiative on 2011-12-09 18:00:37
  2. Can demographics explain why the income shares of high earners have increased?
    by Stephen Gordon in Worthwhile Canadian Initiative on 2011-09-18 21:22:12
Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
as in new window

Cited by:
This item has more than 25 citations. To prevent cluttering this page, these citations are listed on a separate page.

Lists

This item is featured on the following reading lists or Wikipedia pages:
  1. Xavier Gabaix in Wikipedia German ne '')

Statistics

Access and download statistics

Corrections

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:tpr:qjecon:v:123:y:2008:i:1:p:49-100. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Karie Kirkpatrick).

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.