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Shareholders’ Say on Pay: Does It Create Value?

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  • Cai, Jie
  • Walkling, Ralph A.

Abstract

Congress and activists recently proposed giving shareholders a say (vote) on executive pay. We find that when the House passed the Say-on-Pay Bill, the market reaction was significantly positive for firms with high abnormal chief executive officer (CEO) compensation, with low pay-for-performance sensitivity, and responsive to shareholder pressure. However, activist-sponsored say-on-pay proposals target large firms, not those with excessive CEO pay, poor governance, or poor performance. The market reacts negatively to labor-sponsored proposal announcements and positively when these proposals are defeated. Our findings suggest that say-on-pay creates value for companies with inefficient compensation but can destroy value for others.

Suggested Citation

  • Cai, Jie & Walkling, Ralph A., 2011. "Shareholders’ Say on Pay: Does It Create Value?," Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, Cambridge University Press, vol. 46(02), pages 299-339, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:cup:jfinqa:v:46:y:2011:i:02:p:299-339_00
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