IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Login to save this article or follow this journal

The determinants and effects of CEO–employee pay ratios

  • Faleye, Olubunmi
  • Reis, Ebru
  • Venkateswaran, Anand
Registered author(s):

    We study the determinants and effects of the relative compensation of top executives and lower-level employees. First, we show that CEO–employee pay ratios depend on the balance of power between the CEO (relative to the board) and ordinary employees (relative to management). Second, our results suggest that employees do not perceive higher pay ratios as an inequitable outcome to be redressed via costly behaviors that lower productivity. We do not find a negative relation between relative pay and employee productivity, either in our full sample or in subsamples where employees are well-informed about executive pay and are protected against career retributions. Rather, we find that productivity increases with relative pay when the firm has fewer employees who are well-informed, and when promotion decisions are predominantly merit-based. We also find that firm value and operating performance both increase with relative pay. We conclude that ordinary employees appear to perceive an opportunity in higher pay ratios but the extent to which such perception incentivizes them depends on the likelihood of success in a series of sequential promotion tournaments.

    If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.

    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Banking & Finance.

    Volume (Year): 37 (2013)
    Issue (Month): 8 ()
    Pages: 3258-3272

    in new window

    Handle: RePEc:eee:jbfina:v:37:y:2013:i:8:p:3258-3272
    Contact details of provider: Web page:

    References listed on IDEAS
    Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

    as in new window
    1. Baldwin, Carliss Y, 1983. "Productivity and Labor Unions: An Application of the Theory of Self-Enforcing Contracts," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 56(2), pages 155-85, April.
    2. Bengt Holmstrom & Steven N. Kaplan, 2003. "The State of U.S. Corporate Governance: What's Right and What's Wrong?," NBER Working Papers 9613, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Barry T. Hirsch & David A. Macpherson, 2003. "Union Membership and Coverage Database from the Current Population Survey: Note," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 56(2), pages 349-354, January.
    4. Faleye, Olubunmi & Mehrotra, Vikas & Morck, Randall, 2006. "When Labor Has a Voice in Corporate Governance," Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, Cambridge University Press, vol. 41(03), pages 489-510, September.
    5. Henrik Cronqvist & Fredrik Heyman & Mattias Nilsson & Helena Svaleryd & Jonas Vlachos, 2009. "Do Entrenched Managers Pay Their Workers More?," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 64(1), pages 309-339, 02.
    6. Hayes, Rachel M. & Schaefer, Scott, 1999. "How much are differences in managerial ability worth?," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(2), pages 125-148, April.
    7. Xavier Gabaix & Augustin Landier, 2006. "Why Has CEO Pay Increased So Much?," 2006 Meeting Papers 518, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    8. Wintoki, M. Babajide & Linck, James S. & Netter, Jeffry M., 2012. "Endogeneity and the dynamics of internal corporate governance," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 105(3), pages 581-606.
    9. Fehr, Ernst & Schmidt, Klaus M., 1999. "A theory of fairness, competition, and cooperation," Munich Reprints in Economics 20650, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
    10. M Arellano & O Bover, 1990. "Another Look at the Instrumental Variable Estimation of Error-Components Models," CEP Discussion Papers dp0007, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
    11. Sherwin Rosen, 1982. "Authority, Control, and the Distribution of Earnings," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 13(2), pages 311-323, Autumn.
    12. Edward P. Lazear & Sherwin Rosen, 1979. "Rank-Order Tournaments as Optimum Labor Contracts," NBER Working Papers 0401, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    13. Faleye, Olubunmi & Hoitash, Rani & Hoitash, Udi, 2011. "The costs of intense board monitoring," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 101(1), pages 160-181, July.
    14. Core, John E. & Holthausen, Robert W. & Larcker, David F., 1999. "Corporate governance, chief executive officer compensation, and firm performance," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 51(3), pages 371-406, March.
    15. Rajesh K. Aggarwal & Andrew A. Samwick, 2003. "Performance Incentives within Firms: The Effect of Managerial Responsibility," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 58(4), pages 1613-1650, 08.
    16. Barro, Robert J. & Lee, Jong-Wha, 1993. "International comparisons of educational attainment," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(3), pages 363-394, December.
    17. Jayant R. Kale & Ebru Reis & Anand Venkateswaran, 2009. "Rank-Order Tournaments and Incentive Alignment: The Effect on Firm Performance," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 64(3), pages 1479-1512, 06.
    18. Benjamin E. Hermalin, 2005. "Trends in Corporate Governance," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 60(5), pages 2351-2384, October.
    19. John Core, 2002. "Estimating the Value of Employee Stock Option Portfolios and Their Sensitivities to Price and Volatility," Journal of Accounting Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 40(3), pages 613-630, 06.
    20. Robert J. Barro, 2001. "Human Capital and Growth," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(2), pages 12-17, May.
    21. Parrino, Robert, 1997. "CEO turnover and outside succession A cross-sectional analysis," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 46(2), pages 165-197, November.
    22. Axel Ockenfels & Gary E. Bolton, 2000. "ERC: A Theory of Equity, Reciprocity, and Competition," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(1), pages 166-193, March.
    23. Arellano, Manuel & Bond, Stephen, 1991. "Some Tests of Specification for Panel Data: Monte Carlo Evidence and an Application to Employment Equations," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 58(2), pages 277-97, April.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

    When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:jbfina:v:37:y:2013:i:8:p:3258-3272. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Zhang, Lei)

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

    If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.