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CEO Pay and Firm Size: An Update After the Crisis

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  • Xavier Gabaix
  • Augustin Landier
  • Julien Sauvagnat

Abstract

In the "size of stakes" view quantitatively formalized in Gabaix and Landier (2008), CEO compensation is determined in a competitive talent market, and reflects the size of firms affected by talent. This paper offers an empirical update on this view. The years 2004-2011, which include the recent crisis, were not part of the initial study and offer a laboratory to examine the theory as they include new positive and negative shocks to the size of large firms. Executive compensation at the top (ex ante) did closely track the evolution of average firm value during those years. During the crisis (2007 - 2009), average total firm value decreased by 17%, and CEO pay decreased by 28%. During 2009-2011, we observe a rebound of firm value by 19% and of CEO pay increased by 22%. These fairly proportional changes provide a validity check in favor of the "size of stakes" view.

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File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1111/ecoj.2014.124.issue-574
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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Royal Economic Society in its journal The Economic Journal.

Volume (Year): 124 (2014)
Issue (Month): 574 (02)
Pages: F40-F59

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Handle: RePEc:wly:econjl:v:124:y:2014:i:574:p:f40-f59

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  1. Xavier Gabaix, 1999. "Zipf'S Law For Cities: An Explanation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 114(3), pages 739-767, August.
  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. Steven N. Kaplan & Joshua Rauh, 2007. "Wall Street and Main Street: What Contributes to the Rise in the Highest Incomes?," NBER Working Papers 13270, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Thomas Piketty & Emmanuel Saez, 2003. "Income Inequality In The United States, 1913-1998," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 118(1), pages 1-39, February.
  5. Michael Faulkender & Jun Yang, 2013. "Is Disclosure an Effective Cleansing Mechanism? The Dynamics of Compensation Peer Benchmarking," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 26(3), pages 806-839.
  6. 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.
  7. Benjamin E. Hermalin, 2005. "Trends in Corporate Governance," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 60(5), pages 2351-2384, October.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. Carola Frydman & Raven E. Saks, 2010. "Executive Compensation: A New View from a Long-Term Perspective, 1936--2005," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 23(5), pages 2099-2138.
  11. Erzo G. J. Luttmer, 2007. "Selection, Growth, and the Size Distribution of Firms," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 122(3), pages 1103-1144, 08.
  12. Ulrike Malmendier & Geoffrey Tate, 2008. "Superstar CEOs," NBER Working Papers 14140, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Anil Shivdasani & David Yermack, 1998. "CEO Involvement in the Selection of New Board Members: An Empirical Analysis," New York University, Leonard N. Stern School Finance Department Working Paper Seires 98-059, New York University, Leonard N. Stern School of Business-.
  14. Gabaix, Xavier & Ibragimov, Rustam, 2011. "Rank − 1 / 2: A Simple Way to Improve the OLS Estimation of Tail Exponents," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 29(1), pages 24-39.
  15. Lucian Bebchuk & Yaniv Grinstein, 2005. "The Growth of Executive Pay," NBER Working Papers 11443, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. Bertrand, Marianne & Schoar, Antoinette, 2003. "Managing With Style: The Effect of Managers on Firm Policies," Working papers 4280-02, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Sloan School of Management.
  17. 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.
  18. Cadman, Brian & Carter, Mary Ellen & Hillegeist, Stephen, 2010. "The incentives of compensation consultants and CEO pay," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 49(3), pages 263-280, April.
  19. Murphy, Kevin J. & Sandino, Tatiana, 2010. "Executive pay and "independent" compensation consultants," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 49(3), pages 247-262, April.
  20. Brian J. Hall, 1999. "The Design Of Multi-Year Stock Option Plans," Journal of Applied Corporate Finance, Morgan Stanley, vol. 12(2), pages 97-106.
  21. Sattinger, Michael, 1993. "Assignment Models of the Distribution of Earnings," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 31(2), pages 831-80, June.
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