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CEO compensation : trends, market changes, and regulation

  • Arantxa Jarque

The average pay of a chief executive officer (CEO) in a top U.S. firm has increased six-fold in the last three decades. Simultaneously, the composition of pay has moved away from salary-based and increasingly toward performance-based compensation in the form of stock grants and stock option grants. This has strengthened the link between CEO pay and firm performance. Anecdotal evidence on the recent corporate fraud scandals suggests that some incentive problems remain unsolved. However, the academic literature reviewed in this article concludes that changes in market characteristics and the economic environment can partly explain the increase in pay and sensitivity of pay. A market-driven improvement in shareholders? power, together with recent regulatory efforts of corporate governance practices, seems to have produced a healthier corporate sector in which high salaries are not necessarily a sign of entrenchment and inappropriate incentives for executives.

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Article provided by Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond in its journal Economic Quarterly.

Volume (Year): (2008)
Issue (Month): Sum ()
Pages: 265-300

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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedreq:y:2008:i:sum:p:265-300:n:v.94no.3
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  1. Brian J. Hall & Jeffrey B. Liebman, 2000. "The Taxation of Executive Compensation," NBER Chapters, in: Tax Policy and the Economy, Volume 14, pages 1-44 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Wang, Cheng, 1997. "Incentives, CEO Compensation, and Shareholder Wealth in a Dynamic Agency Model," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 76(1), pages 72-105, September.
  3. Gian Luca Clementi & Thomas Cooley & Chen Wang, 2004. "Stock Grants as a Committment Device," Working Papers 04-24, New York University, Leonard N. Stern School of Business, Department of Economics.
  4. Garen, John E, 1994. "Executive Compensation and Principal-Agent Theory," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 102(6), pages 1175-99, December.
  5. Steven N. Kaplan & Bernadette Minton, 2006. "How has CEO Turnover Changed? Increasingly Performance Sensitive Boards and Increasingly Uneasy CEOs," NBER Working Papers 12465, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  10. Brian J. Hall & Jeffrey B. Liebman, 1997. "Are CEOs Really Paid Like Bureaucrats?," NBER Working Papers 6213, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Paul A. Gompers & Joy L. Ishii & Andrew Metrick, 2002. "Corporate Governance and Equity Prices," Center for Financial Institutions Working Papers 02-32, Wharton School Center for Financial Institutions, University of Pennsylvania.
  12. George P. Baker & Brian J. Hall, 2004. "CEO Incentives and Firm Size," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 22(4), pages 767-798, October.
  13. Carola Frydman & Dirk Jenter, 2010. "CEO Compensation," CESifo Working Paper Series 3277, CESifo Group Munich.
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