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Does Executive Compensation Affect Investment?


  • Robert Gibbons
  • Kevin J. Murphy


Investment decisions require trading off current expenditures against future revenues. If revenues extend far enough into the future, the executives responsible for designing long-run investment policy may no longer be in office by the time all the revenues are realized. We present evidence that: (1) on average, executives are close to leaving office (relative to the payout period of many investments); (2) bonuses based on accounting earnings constitute an important part of compensation for the typical executive; and (3) executives respond in predictable ways to compensation plans based on accounting measures of earnings. Based on these facts, we hypothesize that existing compensation policy induces executives to reduce investments during their last years in office. In our empirical work, however, we find that investment expenditures on research and development and on advertising tend to be largest in the final years of a CEO's time in office. We offer several possible explanations for this surprising finding
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Suggested Citation

  • Robert Gibbons & Kevin J. Murphy, 1992. "Does Executive Compensation Affect Investment?," Journal of Applied Corporate Finance, Morgan Stanley, vol. 5(2), pages 99-109.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:jacrfn:v:5:y:1992:i:2:p:99-109

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Dechow, Patricia M. & Sloan, Richard G., 1991. "Executive incentives and the horizon problem : An empirical investigation," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 14(1), pages 51-89, March.
    2. Clifford W. Smith Jr. & Ross L. Watts, 1982. "Incentive and Tax Effects of Executive Compensation Plans," Australian Journal of Management, Australian School of Business, vol. 7(2), pages 139-157, December.
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    Cited by:

    1. Andres, Christian & Theissen, Erik, 2008. "Setting a fox to keep the geese -- Does the comply-or-explain principle work?," Journal of Corporate Finance, Elsevier, vol. 14(3), pages 289-301, June.
    2. Rafel Crespi-Cladera & Carles Gispert & Luc Renneboog, 2001. "Verringern Management-Entlohnungskosten die Agency-Kosten?: Empirische Evidenz von netzwerkorientierten und marktorientierten Unternehmenskontrollsystemen," Vierteljahrshefte zur Wirtschaftsforschung / Quarterly Journal of Economic Research, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research, vol. 70(2), pages 234-246.
    3. Atreya Chakraborty & Mark Kazarosian & Emery Trahan, 1999. "Uncertainty in Executive Compensation and Capital Investment: A Panel Study," Boston College Working Papers in Economics 434, Boston College Department of Economics.
    4. Basma Sellami Mezghanni, 2010. "How Ceo Attributes Affect Firm R&D Spending? New Evidence From A Panel Of French Firms," Post-Print hal-00479532, HAL.
    5. Minnick, Kristina & Rosenthal, Leonard, 2014. "Stealth compensation: Do CEOs increase their pay by influencing dividend policy?," Journal of Corporate Finance, Elsevier, vol. 25(C), pages 435-454.
    6. Croci, Ettore & Gonenc, Halit & Ozkan, Neslihan, 2012. "CEO compensation, family control, and institutional investors in Continental Europe," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 36(12), pages 3318-3335.
    7. Jain, Pawan & Jiang, Christine & Mekhaimer, Mohamed, 2016. "Executives' horizon, internal governance and stock market liquidity," Journal of Corporate Finance, Elsevier, vol. 40(C), pages 1-23.
    8. repec:ipg:wpaper:2014-429 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. Ryan, Harley Jr. & Wiggins, Roy III, 2001. "The influence of firm- and manager-specific characteristics on the structure of executive compensation," Journal of Corporate Finance, Elsevier, vol. 7(2), pages 101-123, June.
    10. Li, Donghui & Moshirian, Fariborz & Nguyen, Pascal & Tan, Liwen, 2007. "Corporate governance or globalization: What determines CEO compensation in China?," Research in International Business and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 21(1), pages 32-49, January.
    11. repec:eee:labchp:v:3:y:1999:i:pb:p:2485-2563 is not listed on IDEAS
    12. Emilia Peni, 2014. "CEO and Chairperson characteristics and firm performance," Journal of Management & Governance, Springer;Accademia Italiana di Economia Aziendale (AIDEA), vol. 18(1), pages 185-205, February.
    13. Adhikari, Hari P. & Bulmash, Samuel B. & Krolikowski, Marcin W. & Sah, Nilesh B., 2015. "Dynamics of CEO compensation: Old is gold," The Quarterly Review of Economics and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 57(C), pages 191-206.
    14. Coles, Jeffrey L. & Daniel, Naveen D. & Naveen, Lalitha, 2006. "Managerial incentives and risk-taking," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 79(2), pages 431-468, February.
    15. Cazier, Richard A., 2011. "Measuring R&D curtailment among short-horizon CEOs," Journal of Corporate Finance, Elsevier, vol. 17(3), pages 584-594, June.
    16. Robert L. Lippert & William T. Moore, 1994. "Compensation Contracts Of Chief Executive Officers: Determinants Of Pay-Performance Sensitivity," Journal of Financial Research, Southern Finance Association;Southwestern Finance Association, vol. 17(3), pages 321-332, September.
    17. George Christodoulakis, 2012. "Conditions for rational investment short-termism," Annals of Finance, Springer, vol. 8(1), pages 15-29, February.
    18. Shahbaz Sheikh, 2012. "Do CEO compensation incentives affect firm innovation?," Review of Accounting and Finance, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 11(1), pages 4-39, February.

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