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Paying to Make a Difference: Executive Compensation and Product Dynamics

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  • Antonio Falato

    ()
    (Finance HEC Montréal)

Abstract

This paper develops an agency model of executive compensation in dynamic industry equilibrium. Firms differ in the quality of their products, and managers can make a difference as higher effort brings about product improvement. I show that there is an inverse relationship between the magnitude of the performance-based component of optimal compensation contracts and the degree of product differentiation, as managerial effort is less likely to make a difference for firms with more differentiated products. Empirically, I find strong evidence of this inverse relation in the compensation of US executives. In particular, I find that pay-performance sensitivity depends negatively on industry- and firm-level measures of product differentiation, even after controlling for industry fixed effects and standard measures of product market competition. Moreover, industry leaders have weaker pay-performance sensitivity than laggards, even after controlling for firm size. My findings suggest that industry is an important determinant of executive compensation

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Society for Economic Dynamics in its series 2006 Meeting Papers with number 690.

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Date of creation: 03 Dec 2006
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Handle: RePEc:red:sed006:690

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Keywords: Incentives; Optimal Contracts; Executive Compensation; Industry Dynamics;

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  1. Andrew B. Bernard & J. Bradford Jensen & Peter K. Schott, 2003. "Falling Trade Costs, Heterogeneous Firms, and Industry Dynamics," Yale School of Management Working Papers ysm357, Yale School of Management.
  2. Lucian Bebchuk & Yaniv Grinstein, 2005. "The Growth of Executive Pay," NBER Working Papers 11443, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Bergman, Nittai K. & Jenter, Dirk, 2007. "Employee sentiment and stock option compensation," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 84(3), pages 667-712, June.
  4. Peter MacKay & Gordon M. Phillips, 2005. "How Does Industry Affect Firm Financial Structure?," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 18(4), pages 1433-1466.
  5. Maksimovic, Vojislav & Zechner, Josef, 1991. " Debt, Agency Costs, and Industry Equilibrium," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 46(5), pages 1619-43, December.
  6. David Besanko & Ulrich Doraszelski, 2004. "Capacity Dynamics and Endogenous Asymmetries in Firm Size," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 35(1), pages 23-49, Spring.
  7. Oliver D. Hart, 1983. "The Market Mechanism as an Incentive Scheme," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 14(2), pages 366-382, Autumn.
  8. James E. Rauch, 1996. "Networks versus Markets in International Trade," NBER Working Papers 5617, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Bengt Holmstrom, 1997. "Moral Hazard and Observability," Levine's Working Paper Archive 1205, David K. Levine.
  10. Mehran, Hamid, 1995. "Executive compensation structure, ownership, and firm performance," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 38(2), pages 163-184, June.
  11. Vojislav Maksimovic, 1988. "Capital Structure in Repeated Oligopolies," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 19(3), pages 389-407, Autumn.
  12. 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.
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