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Explicit versus Implicit Contracts: Evidence from CEO Employment Agreements

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  • STUART L. GILLAN
  • JAY C. HARTZELL
  • ROBERT PARRINO

Abstract

We report evidence on the determinants of whether the relationship between a firm and its Chief Executive Officer (CEO) is governed by an explicit (written) or an implicit agreement. We find that fewer than half of the CEOs of S&P 500 firms have comprehensive explicit employment agreements. Consistent with contracting theory, explicit agreements are more likely to be observed and are likely to have a longer duration in situations in which the sustainability of the relationship is less certain and where the expected loss to the CEO is greater if the firm fails to honor the agreement. Copyright (c) 2009 the American Finance Association.

Suggested Citation

  • Stuart L. Gillan & Jay C. Hartzell & Robert Parrino, 2009. "Explicit versus Implicit Contracts: Evidence from CEO Employment Agreements," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 64(4), pages 1629-1655, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:jfinan:v:64:y:2009:i:4:p:1629-1655
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Wolfgang Keller & William W. Olney, 2017. "Globalization and Executive Compensation," NBER Working Papers 23384, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Fabel, Oliver & Kolmar, Martin, 2012. "Do parachutes discipline managers? An analysis of takeover battles," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(2), pages 224-232.
    3. Armstrong, Christopher S. & Guay, Wayne R. & Weber, Joseph P., 2010. "The role of information and financial reporting in corporate governance and debt contracting," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(2-3), pages 179-234, December.
    4. Ying L. Compton & Angela K. Gore & Susan L. Kulp, 2017. "Compensation design and political risk: the case of city managers," Review of Accounting Studies, Springer, vol. 22(1), pages 109-140, March.
    5. Gillan, Stuart L. & Nguyen, Nga Q., 2016. "Incentives, termination payments, and CEO contracting," Journal of Corporate Finance, Elsevier, vol. 41(C), pages 445-465.
    6. repec:hrv:faseco:34651704 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Alex Edmans & Xavier Gabaix, 2016. "Executive Compensation: A Modern Primer," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 54(4), pages 1232-1287, December.
    8. Matthias Kiefer & Edward Jones & Andrew Adams, 2016. "Principals, Agents and Incomplete Contracts: Are Surrender of Control and Renegotiation the Solution?," CFI Discussion Papers 1603, Centre for Finance and Investment, Heriot Watt University.
    9. Taylor, Lucian A., 2013. "CEO wage dynamics: Estimates from a learning model," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 108(1), pages 79-98.
    10. Yang, Tianna & Hou, Wenxuan, 2016. "Pay-performance sensitivity and risk-taking behaviors: Evidence from closed-end funds," Emerging Markets Review, Elsevier, vol. 29(C), pages 274-288.
    11. Serfling, Matthew A., 2014. "CEO age and the riskiness of corporate policies," Journal of Corporate Finance, Elsevier, vol. 25(C), pages 251-273.
    12. Cronqvist, Henrik & Fahlenbrach, Rüdiger, 2013. "CEO contract design: How do strong principals do it?," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 108(3), pages 659-674.
    13. Offenberg, David & Officer, Micah S., 2014. "The totality of change-in-control payments," Journal of Corporate Finance, Elsevier, vol. 29(C), pages 75-87.
    14. Blanco, Iván & Wehrheim, David, 2017. "The bright side of financial derivatives: Options trading and firm innovation," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 125(1), pages 99-119.
    15. Gao, Huasheng & Harford, Jarrad & Li, Kai, 2012. "CEO pay cuts and forced turnover: Their causes and consequences," Journal of Corporate Finance, Elsevier, vol. 18(2), pages 291-310.
    16. Jarque, Arantxa, 2014. "The Complexity of CEO Compensation," Working Paper 14-16, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond.

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