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

Are all CEOs above average? An empirical analysis of compensation peer groups and pay design

  • Bizjak, John
  • Lemmon, Michael
  • Nguyen, Thanh
Registered author(s):

    Companies can potentially use compensation peer groups to inflate pay by choosing peers that are larger, choosing a high target pay percentile, or choosing peer firms with high pay. Although peers are largely selected based on characteristics that reflect the labor market for managerial talent, we find that peer groups are constructed in a manner that biases compensation upward, particularly in firms outside the Standard & Poor's (S&P) 500. Pay increases close only about one-third of the gap between the pay of the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and the peer group, however, suggesting that boards exercise discretion in adjusting compensation. Preliminary evidence suggests that increased disclosure has reduced the biases in peer group choice.

    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 Financial Economics.

    Volume (Year): 100 (2011)
    Issue (Month): 3 (June)
    Pages: 538-555

    in new window

    Handle: RePEc:eee:jfinec:v:100:y:2011:i:3:p:538-555
    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. Smith, Clifford Jr. & Watts, Ross L., 1992. "The investment opportunity set and corporate financing, dividend, and compensation policies," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(3), pages 263-292, December.
    2. Bengt Holmstrom & Steven N. Kaplan, 2003. "The State Of U.S. Corporate Governance: What'S Right And What'S Wrong?," Journal of Applied Corporate Finance, Morgan Stanley, vol. 15(3), pages 8-20.
    3. Fama, Eugene F. & French, Kenneth R., 1997. "Industry costs of equity," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 43(2), pages 153-193, February.
    4. Fan, Joseph P H & Lang, Larry H P, 2000. "The Measurement of Relatedness: An Application to Corporate Diversification," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 73(4), pages 629-60, October.
    5. Bizjak, John M. & Lemmon, Michael L. & Naveen, Lalitha, 2008. "Does the use of peer groups contribute to higher pay and less efficient compensation?," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 90(2), pages 152-168, November.
    6. Murphy, Kevin J., 1999. "Executive compensation," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 38, pages 2485-2563 Elsevier.
    7. Cadman, Brian & Carter, Mary Ellen & Hillegeist, Stephen, 2010. "The incentives of compensation consultants and CEO pay," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 49(3), pages 263-280, April.
    8. Hayes, Rachel M. & Schaefer, Scott, 2009. "CEO pay and the Lake Wobegon Effect," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 94(2), pages 280-290, November.
    9. Faulkender, Michael & Yang, Jun, 2010. "Inside the black box: The role and composition of compensation peer groups," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 96(2), pages 257-270, May.
    10. repec:oup:qjecon:v:118:y:2003:i:1:p:107-155 is not listed on IDEAS
    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:jfinec:v:100:y:2011:i:3:p:538-555. 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.