Advanced Search
MyIDEAS: Login

Why Has CEO Pay Increased So Much?

Contents:

Author Info

  • Xavier Gabaix

    ()
    (Massachusetts Institute of Technology)

  • Augustin Landier

Abstract

This paper develops a simple competitive model of CEO pay. It appears to explain much of the rise in CEO compensation in the US economy, without assuming managerial entrenchment, mishandling of options, or theft. CEOs have observable managerial talent and are matched to assets in a competitive assignment model. The marginal impact of a CEO's talent is assumed to increase with the value of the assets under his control. Under very general assumptions, using results from extreme value theory, the model determines the level of CEO pay across firms and over time, and the pay-sensitivity relations. We predict that the level of CEO compensation should increase one for one with the average market capitalization of large firms in the economy. Therefore, the eight-fold increase of CEO pay between 1980 and 2000 can be fully attributed to the increase in market capitalization of large US companies. The model predicts the cross-section Cobb-Douglass relation between pay and firm size and can be used to study other large changes at the top of the income distribution, and offers a benchmark for calibratable corporate finance

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://repec.org/sed2006/up.362.1139973819.pdf
Download Restriction: no

Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Society for Economic Dynamics in its series 2006 Meeting Papers with number 518.

as in new window
Length:
Date of creation: 03 Dec 2006
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:red:sed006:518

Contact details of provider:
Postal: Society for Economic Dynamics Christian Zimmermann Economic Research Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis PO Box 442 St. Louis MO 63166-0442 USA
Fax: 1-314-444-8731
Email:
Web page: http://www.EconomicDynamics.org/society.htm
More information through EDIRC

Related research

Keywords: Executive compensation; wage distribution; Pareto distribution; wage inequality; assignment; incentives; pay performance sensitivity;

Other versions of this item:

Find related papers by JEL classification:

This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

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. 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.
  2. Jess Benhabib & Alberto Bisin, 2006. "The distribution of wealth and redistributive policies," Levine's Working Paper Archive 122247000000001162, David K. Levine.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. Carola Frydman & Dirk Jenter, 2010. "CEO Compensation," Annual Review of Financial Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 2(1), pages 75-102, December.
  8. Xavier Gabaix & Yannis M. Ioannides, 2003. "The Evolution of City Size Distributions," Discussion Papers Series, Department of Economics, Tufts University 0310, Department of Economics, Tufts University.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. Gabaix, Xavier & Laibson, David I., 2006. "Shrouded Attributes, Consumer Myopia, and Information Suppression in Competitive Markets," Scholarly Articles 4554333, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  13. Raghuram G. Rajan & Julie Wulf, 2006. "The Flattening Firm: Evidence from Panel Data on the Changing Nature of Corporate Hierarchies," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 88(4), pages 759-773, November.
  14. Andrei Shleifer, 2004. "Does Competition Destroy Ethical Behavior?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(2), pages 414-418, May.
  15. Xavier Gabaix, 1999. "Zipf'S Law For Cities: An Explanation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 114(3), pages 739-767, August.
  16. 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.
  17. Lucian Arye Bebchuk & Jesse M. Fried, 2003. "Executive Compensation as an Agency Problem," NBER Working Papers 9813, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  18. 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.
  19. 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.
  20. Luis Garicano & Esteban Rossi-Hansberg, 2005. "Organization and Inequality in a Knowledge Economy," NBER Working Papers 11458, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  21. 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.
  22. 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.
  23. Paul A. Gompers & Joy L. Ishii & Andrew Metrick, 2002. "Corporate Governance and Equity Prices," Center for Financial Institutions Working Papers 02-32, Wharton School Center for Financial Institutions, University of Pennsylvania.
  24. Peter F. Kostiuk, 1990. "Firm Size and Executive Compensation," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 25(1), pages 90-105.
  25. 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.
  26. Lucian Arye Bebchuk & Jesse M. Fried & David I. Walker, 2002. "Managerial Power and Rent Extraction in the Design of Executive Compensation," NBER Working Papers 9068, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  27. Barro, Jason R. & Barro, Robert J., 1990. "Pay, Performance, and Turnover of Bank CEOs," Scholarly Articles 3451300, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  28. 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.
  29. 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.
  30. Bengt Holmstrom & Steven N. Kaplan, 2003. "The State of U.S. Corporate Governance: What's Right and What's Wrong?," NBER Working Papers 9613, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  31. 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.
  32. 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.
  33. 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.
  34. 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.
  35. 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.
  36. Cuñat, Vicente & Guadalupe, Maria, 2006. "Globalization and the Provision of Incentives Inside the Firm," CEPR Discussion Papers 5950, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  37. Samuel S. Kortum, 1997. "Research, Patenting, and Technological Change," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 65(6), pages 1389-1420, November.
  38. 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.
  39. Ulrike Malmendier & Geoffrey Tate, 2009. "Superstar CEOs," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 124(4), pages 1593-1638, November.
  40. Fama, Eugene F. & French, Kenneth R., 1997. "Industry costs of equity," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 43(2), pages 153-193, February.
  41. 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.
  42. Benjamin E. Hermalin, 2005. "Trends in Corporate Governance," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 60(5), pages 2351-2384, October.
  43. 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.
  44. 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.
  45. Rosen, Sherwin, 1981. "The Economics of Superstars," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 71(5), pages 845-58, December.
  46. 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.
  47. Thomas Piketty & Emmanuel Saez, 2006. "The Evolution of Top Incomes: A Historical and International Perspective," NBER Working Papers 11955, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  48. 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.
  49. 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.
  50. 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.
  51. Sherwin Rosen, 1990. "Contracts and the Market for Executives," NBER Working Papers 3542, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  52. 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.
  53. Sherwin Rosen, 1982. "Authority, Control, and the Distribution of Earnings," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 13(2), pages 311-323, Autumn.
  54. Sattinger, Michael, 1993. "Assignment Models of the Distribution of Earnings," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 31(2), pages 831-80, June.
  55. Wilbur G. Lewellen, 1968. "Executive Compensation in Large Industrial Corporations," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number lewe68-1.
  56. Brian J. Hall & Kevin J. Murphy, 2003. "The Trouble with Stock Options," NBER Working Papers 9784, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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)

Statistics

Access and download statistics

Corrections

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:red:sed006:518. 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: (Christian Zimmermann).

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.