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Relative performance evaluation for chief executive officers

  • Robert Gibbons
  • Kevin J. Murphy

Relative performance evaluation (RPE) provides employees with an incentive to perform well while insulating their compensation from shocks that also affect the performances of other workers in the same firm, industry, or market. This paper reviews the benefits and costs of RPE and tests for the presence of RPE in the compensation contracts of chief executive officers (CEOs) using data on 1,668 CEOs from 1,049 corporations from 1974 to 1986. The results, in contrast to the findings of previous research, strongly support the hypothesis that RPE is used in compensation and retention decisions affecting CEOs: the revision in a CEO's pay and the probability that a CEO remains in his position for the following year are positively and significantly related to firm performance, but are negatively and significantly related to industry and market performance. (Abstract courtesy JSTOR.)

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Article provided by ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School in its journal ILR Review.

Volume (Year): 43 (1990)
Issue (Month): 3 (February)
Pages: 30-51

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Handle: RePEc:ilr:articl:v:43:y:1990:i:3:p:30-51
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  1. Morck, Randall & Shleifer, Andrei & Vishny, Robert W, 1989. "Alternative Mechanisms for Corporate Control," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(4), pages 842-52, September.
  2. Black, Fischer & Scholes, Myron S, 1973. "The Pricing of Options and Corporate Liabilities," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 81(3), pages 637-54, May-June.
  3. Bengt Holmstrom, 1997. "Moral Hazard and Observability," Levine's Working Paper Archive 1205, David K. Levine.
  4. Edward P. Lazear & Sherwin Rosen, 1979. "Rank-Order Tournaments as Optimum Labor Contracts," NBER Working Papers 0401, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Weisbach, Michael S., 1988. "Outside directors and CEO turnover," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 20(1-2), pages 431-460, January.
  6. Jensen, Michael C & Murphy, Kevin J, 1990. "Performance Pay and Top-Management Incentives," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(2), pages 225-64, April.
  7. Bengt Holmstrom, 1981. "Moral Hazard in Teams," Discussion Papers 471, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  8. Lazear, Edward P, 1989. "Pay Equality and Industrial Politics," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(3), pages 561-80, June.
  9. Murphy, Kevin J., 1985. "Corporate performance and managerial remuneration : An empirical analysis," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 7(1-3), pages 11-42, April.
  10. Carmichael, H Lorne, 1988. "Incentives in Academics: Why Is There Tenure?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 96(3), pages 453-72, June.
  11. Mookherjee, Dilip, 1984. "Optimal Incentive Schemes with Many Agents," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 51(3), pages 433-46, July.
  12. Wolfson, Mark A, 1985. "Tax, Incentive, and Risk-sharing Issues in the Allocation of Property Rights: The Generalized Lease-or-Buy Problem," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 58(2), pages 159-71, April.
  13. Dye, Ronald A, 1984. "The Trouble with Tournaments," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 22(1), pages 147-49, January.
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