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Tournaments and managerial incentives in China's listed firms: New evidence

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  • Kato, Takao
  • Long, Cheryl

Abstract

The promotion tournament as a potentially important incentive mechanism for top management in transition economies has not been examined by the literature on managerial incentives. This paper attempts to fill this important gap in the literature. The paper begins with modifying the empirical predictions previously-derived from the tournament theory to the context of transition economies in which state ownership still plays a significant role in publicly-traded firms. Specifically, we test the following two hypotheses. First, the winner's prize will need to increase in order to prevent each contestant from lowering his/her effort level in the face of a larger contestant pool. Such an optimal response of the winner's prize to the size of the contestant pool is more evident for China's listed firms that are less controlled by the state. Second, the winner's prize will also need to rise in order to prevent each contestant from reducing his/her effort level in the face of greater market volatility (or more noise in the performance measure used to determine the tournament winner). Using comprehensive financial and accounting data on China's listed firms from 1998 to 2002, augmented by unique data on executive compensation and ownership structure, we find evidence in support of both hypotheses. Finally, we also find evidence suggesting that an increase in the winner's prize will result in improved firm performance due to enhanced managerial effort, and that the performance effect of the winner's prize is greater for China's listed firms that are less controlled by the state. As such this paper provides yet another piece of evidence that ownership restructuring may be needed for China to successfully transform its SOEs to efficient modernized corporations and reform its overall economy.

Suggested Citation

  • Kato, Takao & Long, Cheryl, 2011. "Tournaments and managerial incentives in China's listed firms: New evidence," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 22(1), pages 1-10, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:chieco:v:22:y:2011:i:1:p:1-10
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    Cited by:

    1. Alex Bryson & John Forth & Minghai Zhou, 2014. "Same or Different? The CEO Labour Market in China's Public Listed Companies," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 124(574), pages 90-108, February.
    2. Xunan Feng & Anders C. Johansson, 2017. "CEO Incentives in Chinese State-Controlled Firms," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 65(2), pages 223-264.
    3. Chen, Jing & Ezzamel, Mahmoud & Cai, Ziming, 2011. "Managerial power theory, tournament theory, and executive pay in China," Journal of Corporate Finance, Elsevier, vol. 17(4), pages 1176-1199, September.
    4. Lerong He & Junxiong Fang, 2016. "Subnational institutional contingencies and executive pay dispersion," Asia Pacific Journal of Management, Springer, vol. 33(2), pages 371-410, June.
    5. Hu, Fang & Tan, Weiqiang & Xin, Qingquan & Yang, Sixian, 2013. "How do market forces affect executive compensation in Chinese state-owned enterprises?," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 25(C), pages 78-87.
    6. Lam, Kevin C.K. & McGuinness, Paul B. & Vieito, João Paulo, 2013. "CEO gender, executive compensation and firm performance in Chinese‐listed enterprises," Pacific-Basin Finance Journal, Elsevier, vol. 21(1), pages 1136-1159.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Tournaments Managerial incentives Ownership structure China Transition economies;

    JEL classification:

    • M51 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Personnel Economics - - - Firm Employment Decisions; Promotions
    • P3 - Economic Systems - - Socialist Institutions and Their Transitions

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