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Which Pay for what Performance? Evidence from Executive Compensation in Germany and the United States

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  • Moritz Heimes

    ()
    (Department of Economics, University of Konstanz, Germany)

  • Steffen Seemann

    ()
    (Department of Economics, University of Konstanz, Germany)

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    Abstract

    This paper analyzes executive compensation in German and U.S. corporations for the period 2005-2009 including the financial crisis. We analyze the impact of stock market performance and accounting-based measures of firm performance on different compensation components. We find that only firm earnings explain total executive compensation in both samples while stock market performance does not. Cash bonus payments of German executives are explained by firm earnings and not by stock returns while U.S. bonuses are also determined by stock returns. Moreover, the sensitivity of cash bonuses to firm performance depends on firm risk and firm size. We also provide evidence that firms choose performance measures with low volatility. Finally, we find that pay-performance sensitivities are higher in the U.S. than in Germany, but have no robust explanation how long-term compensation such as company stock and options is granted in either country.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Department of Economics, University of Konstanz in its series Working Paper Series of the Department of Economics, University of Konstanz with number 2012-29.

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    Length: 52 pages
    Date of creation: 23 Nov 2012
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:knz:dpteco:1229

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    Related research

    Keywords: Pay for Performance; Executive Comepensation; Incentives;

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    References

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    1. Lucian Bebchuk, 2005. "The Growth of Executive Pay," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 21(2), pages 283-303, Summer.
    2. Rüdiger Fahlenbrach, 2009. "Shareholder Rights, Boards, and CEO Compensation," Review of Finance, European Finance Association, vol. 13(1), pages 81-113.
    3. Sloan, Richard G., 1993. "Accounting earnings and top executive compensation," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 16(1-3), pages 55-100, April.
    4. Carola Frydman & Dirk Jenter, 2010. "CEO Compensation," CESifo Working Paper Series 3277, CESifo Group Munich.
    5. Fahlenbrach, Rüdiger & Stulz, René M., 2011. "Bank CEO incentives and the credit crisis," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 99(1), pages 11-26, January.
    6. 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.
    7. Rajesh K. Aggarwal & Andrew A. Samwick, 1999. "The Other Side of the Trade-off: The Impact of Risk on Executive Compensation," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 107(1), pages 65-105, February.
    8. Elston, Julie Ann & Goldberg, Lawrence G., 2003. "Executive compensation and agency costs in Germany," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 27(7), pages 1391-1410, July.
    9. 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.
    10. Cichello, Michael S., 2005. "The impact of firm size on pay-performance sensitivities," Journal of Corporate Finance, Elsevier, vol. 11(4), pages 609-627, September.
    11. Jensen, Michael C & Murphy, Kevin J, 1990. "Performance Pay and Top-Management Incentives," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(2), pages 225-64, April.
    12. Martin J. Conyon & John E. Core & Wayne R. Guay, 2011. "Are U.S. CEOs Paid More Than U.K. CEOs? Inferences from Risk-adjusted Pay," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 24(2), pages 402-438.
    13. Fahlenbach, Rudiger & Stulz, Rene M., 2009. "Bank CEO Incentives and the Credit Crisis," Working Paper Series 2009-13, Ohio State University, Charles A. Dice Center for Research in Financial Economics.
    14. 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.
    15. Bushman, Robert M. & Indjejikian, Raffi J., 1993. "Accounting income, stock price, and managerial compensation," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 16(1-3), pages 3-23, April.
    16. Canice Prendergast, 2002. "The Tenuous Trade-off between Risk and Incentives," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 110(5), pages 1071-1102, October.
    17. John M. Abowd & Michael Bognanno, 1995. "International Differences in Executive and Managerial Compensation," NBER Chapters, in: Differences and Changes in Wage Structures, pages 67-104 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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