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Corporate Culture and the Tournament Hypothesis


Author Info

  • Neslihan Ozkan

    (University of Bristol)

  • Oleksandr Talavera

    (School of Economics, University of East Anglia)

  • Anna Zalewska

    (University of Bath)


The empirical literature on the effect of dispersion of executive remuneration (i.e., the intensity of a tournament structure) on the comparative performance of companies is mixed. Studies on US data tend to find strong positive effects but non-US studies tend to fail to find an effect. This suggests that tournaments are likely to be more effective in some situations than others. Using UK data we are able to exploit differences between companies as they become more ‘Americanised’ to provide some insight into this question. In the UK there has been a change towards the use of the US terminology CEO and away from the more tradition UK nomenclature of MD. A minority of UK companies retain the terminology MD. Also in some UK companies the top executive is a US citizen. Both these may tell us something about the culture of the company. We test whether tournaments are more likely to be effective if the company calls it top executive CEO and also if there is a US CEO. We find that increasing the dispersion of remuneration is no more effective for companies with CEOs than for MDs. However, we find that the situation is different when we look at companies with US CEOs relative to the rest of the sample. Here we find that increasing the dispersion is associated with better company performance.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by School of Economics, University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK. in its series University of East Anglia Applied and Financial Economics Working Paper Series with number 017.

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Date of creation: 22 Sep 2010
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Handle: RePEc:uea:aepppr:2010_17

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Keywords: Executive compensation; incentive pay; firm performance;

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