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How Much Sunlight Does it Take to Disinfect a Boardroom? A Short History of Executive Compensation Regulation

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  • Ian Dew-Becker

Abstract

This paper reviews the history of executive compensation disclosure and other government policies affecting CEO pay, and as well surveys the literature on the effects of these policies. Disclosure has increased nearly uniformly since 1933. A number of other regulations, including special taxes on CEO pay and rules regarding votes on some pay packages have also been introduced, particularly in the last 20 years. However, there is little solid evidence that any of these policies have had any substantial impact on pay. Policy changes have likely helped drive the move towards more use of stock options, but there is no conclusive evidence on how policy has otherwise affected the level or composition of pay. I also review evidence from overseas on “Say on Pay,” recently proposed in the US, which would allow nonbinding shareholder votes on CEO compensation. The experiences of other countries have been positive, with tighter linkages between pay and performance and improved communication with investors. Mandatory say on pay would be beneficial in the US.

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File URL: http://www.cesifo-group.de/portal/page/portal/DocBase_Content/WP/WP-CESifo_Working_Papers/wp-cesifo-2008/wp-cesifo-2008-08/cesifo1_wp2379.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by CESifo Group Munich in its series CESifo Working Paper Series with number 2379.

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Date of creation: 2008
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Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_2379

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  1. Lo, Kin, 2003. "Economic consequences of regulated changes in disclosure: the case of executive compensation," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 35(3), pages 285-314, August.
  2. Park, Yun W & Nelson, Toni & Huson, Mark R, 2001. "Executive Pay and the Disclosure Environment: Canadian Evidence," Journal of Financial Research, Southern Finance Association & Southwestern Finance Association, vol. 24(3), pages 347-65, Fall.
  3. Dew-Becker, Ian & Gordon, Robert J, 2005. "Where did the Productivity Growth Go? Inflation Dynamics and the Distribution of Income," CEPR Discussion Papers 5419, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  4. Michael C. Jensen, 2010. "The Modern Industrial Revolution, Exit, and the Failure of Internal Control Systems," Journal of Applied Corporate Finance, Morgan Stanley, vol. 22(1), pages 43-58.
  5. Rafael LaPorta & Florencio Lopez-de-Silanes & Andrei Shleifer, . "What Works in Securities Laws?," Working Paper 19491, Harvard University OpenScholar.
  6. Michael Greenstone & Paul Oyer & Annette Vissing-Jorgensen, 2006. "Mandated Disclosure, Stock Returns, and the 1964 Securities Acts Amendments," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 121(2), pages 399-460, May.
  7. Carhart, Mark M, 1997. " On Persistence in Mutual Fund Performance," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 52(1), pages 57-82, March.
  8. Ian Dew-Becker & Robert J. Gordon, 2005. "Where Did Productivity Growth Go? Inflation Dynamics and the Distribution of Income," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 36(2), pages 67-150.
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Cited by:
  1. Dietl, Helmut M. & Grossmann, Martin & Lang, Markus & Wey, Simon, 2013. "Incentive effects of bonus taxes in a principal-agent model," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 89(C), pages 93-104.
  2. Helmut Dietl & Tobias Duschl & Markus Lang, 2011. "Executive Pay Regulation: What Regulators, Shareholders, and Managers Can Learn from Major Sports Leagues," Working Papers 1106, International Association of Sports Economists & North American Association of Sports Economists, revised Mar 2011.
  3. Dittmann, Ingolf & Maug, Ernst & Zhang, Dan, 2011. "Restricting CEO pay," Journal of Corporate Finance, Elsevier, vol. 17(4), pages 1200-1220, September.
  4. Manoj Atolia & Yoshinori Kurokawa, 2014. "Fixed Costs, Task Variety, and Skill Flexibility: A Simple Unified Theory of Below and Within-top Inequality," Tsukuba Economics Working Papers 2014-001, Economics, Graduate School of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Tsukuba.

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