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In search of ideas: Technological innovation and executive pay inequality

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  • Frydman, Carola
  • Papanikolaou, Dimitris

Abstract

We develop a general equilibrium model that delivers realistic fluctuations in pay inequality as a result of changes in the technology frontier. In our model, executives add value to the firm not only by participating in production decisions, as do other workers in the economy, but also by identifying new investment opportunities. Improvements in technology that are specific to new vintages of capital raise the return to managers’ skills for discovering new growth projects and, thus, increase the compensation of executives relative to workers and disparities in pay across executives. Our model implies that, controlling for firm size, compensation is higher in fast-growing firms and that pay inequality increases as investment opportunities in the economy improve. Both predictions are consistent with the data.

Suggested Citation

  • Frydman, Carola & Papanikolaou, Dimitris, 2018. "In search of ideas: Technological innovation and executive pay inequality," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 130(1), pages 1-24.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jfinec:v:130:y:2018:i:1:p:1-24
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jfineco.2018.06.014
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    Cited by:

    1. Andrea Eisfeldt & Antonio Falato & Mindy Z. Xiaolan, 2018. "The Rise of Human Capitalist," 2018 Meeting Papers 1110, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    2. Philippe Aghion & Ufuk Akcigit & Antonin Bergeaud & Richard Blundell & David Hemous, 2019. "Innovation and Top Income Inequality," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 86(1), pages 1-45.
    3. Qiong Jia & Liyuan Wei & Xiaotong Li, 2019. "Visualizing Sustainability Research in Business and Management (1990–2019) and Emerging Topics: A Large-Scale Bibliometric Analysis," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 11(20), pages 1-37, October.
    4. Tao Tang & Lizeth Cuesta & Brayan Tillaguango & Rafael Alvarado & Abdul Rehman & Diana Bravo-Benavides & Natalia Zárate, 2022. "Causal Link between Technological Innovation and Inequality Moderated by Public Spending, Manufacturing, Agricultural Employment, and Export Diversification," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 14(14), pages 1-25, July.
    5. Christopher Kurzhals & Lorenz Graf‐Vlachy & Andreas König, 2020. "Strategic leadership and technological innovation: A comprehensive review and research agenda," Corporate Governance: An International Review, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 28(6), pages 437-464, November.
    6. Dae Soo Choi & Chang Soo Sung & Joo Y. Park, 2020. "How Does Technology Startups Increase Innovative Performance? The Study of Technology Startups on Innovation Focusing on Employment Change in Korea," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 12(2), pages 1-14, January.
    7. Toni M. Whited, 2022. "Integrating Structural and Reduced-Form Methods in Empirical Finance," Papers 2205.01175, arXiv.org.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Executive compensation; Inequality; Technology; Innovation;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • G32 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Financing Policy; Financial Risk and Risk Management; Capital and Ownership Structure; Value of Firms; Goodwill
    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials
    • E22 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Investment; Capital; Intangible Capital; Capacity
    • E24 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Employment; Unemployment; Wages; Intergenerational Income Distribution; Aggregate Human Capital; Aggregate Labor Productivity

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