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Political Constraints on Executive Compensation: Evidence from the Electric Utility Industry

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  • Paul L. Joskow
  • Nancy L. Rose
  • Catherine Wolfram

Abstract

This study explores the effect of regulatory and political constraints on the level of CEO compensation for 87 state-regulated electric utilities during 1978-1990. The results suggest that political pressures may constrain top executive pay levels in this industry. First, CEOs of firms operating in regulatory environments characterized by investment banks as relatively "proconsumer" receive lower compensation than do CEOs of firms in environments ranked as more friendly to investors. Second, CEO pay is lower for utilities with relatively high or rising rates, or a higher proportion of industrial customers. Finally, attributes of the commission appointment and tenure rules affect CEO compensation in ways consistent with the political constraint hypothesis.

Suggested Citation

  • Paul L. Joskow & Nancy L. Rose & Catherine Wolfram, 1996. "Political Constraints on Executive Compensation: Evidence from the Electric Utility Industry," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 27(1), pages 165-182, Spring.
  • Handle: RePEc:rje:randje:v:27:y:1996:i:spring:p:165-182
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Haubrich, Joseph G, 1994. "Risk Aversion, Performance Pay, and the Principal-Agent Problem," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 102(2), pages 258-276, April.
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    6. Noll, Roger G., 1989. "Economic perspectives on the politics of regulation," Handbook of Industrial Organization,in: R. Schmalensee & R. Willig (ed.), Handbook of Industrial Organization, edition 1, volume 2, chapter 22, pages 1253-1287 Elsevier.
    7. 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 225-264, April.
    8. Robert Gibbons & Kevin J. Murphy, 1990. "Relative Performance Evaluation for Chief Executive Officers," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 43(3), pages 30, April.
    9. Peter Navarro, 1982. "Public Utility Commission Regulation: Performance, Determinants, and Energy Policy Impacts," The Energy Journal, International Association for Energy Economics, vol. 0(Number 2), pages 119-140.
    10. Sloan, Richard G., 1993. "Accounting earnings and top executive compensation," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 16(1-3), pages 55-100, April.
    11. Robert L. Hagerman & Brian T. Ratchford, 1978. "Some Determinants of Allowed Rates of Return on Equity to Electric Utilities," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 9(1), pages 46-55, Spring.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Cuñat, Vicente & Guadalupe, Maria, 2009. "Executive compensation and competition in the banking and financial sectors," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 33(3), pages 495-504, March.
    2. Mixon Jr., Franklin G. & Upadhyaya, Kamal P., 1999. "The impact of economic regulation on attempts to curb expense preference behavior: a micro-data analysis of CEO compensation schemes for electric utilities," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 21(2), pages 185-194, April.
    3. Bayer, Christian & Burhop, Carsten, 2009. "Corporate governance and incentive contracts: Historical evidence from a legal reform," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 46(4), pages 464-481, October.
    4. John DiNardo & Kevin Hallock & Jorn-Steffen Pischke, 1997. "Unions and Managerial Pay," NBER Working Papers 6318, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Hall, Brian J. & Murphy, Kevin J., 2002. "Stock options for undiversified executives," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 33(1), pages 3-42, February.
    6. Dey, Oindrila & Banerjee, Swapnendu, 2014. "Status and incentives: A critical survey," MPRA Paper 57658, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    7. Christian Bayer & Carsten Burhop, 2008. "A Corporate Governance Reform as a Natural Experiment for Incentive Contracts," Schmalenbach Business Review (sbr), LMU Munich School of Management, vol. 60(4), pages 378-399, October.
    8. Grant, Simon & King, Stephen & Polak, Ben, 1996. " Information Externalities, Share-Price Based Incentives and Managerial Behaviour," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 10(1), pages 1-21, March.
    9. Zhou, Xianming, 1999. "Executive compensation and managerial incentives: A comparison between Canada and the United States1," Journal of Corporate Finance, Elsevier, vol. 5(3), pages 277-301, September.
    10. Liang, Hao & Renneboog, Luc & Sun, Sunny Li, 2015. "The political determinants of executive compensation: Evidence from an emerging economy," Emerging Markets Review, Elsevier, vol. 25(C), pages 69-91.
    11. Terence Tai Leung Chong & Yue Ding & Yong Li, 2015. "Executive Stock Option Pricing in China Under Stochastic Volatility," Journal of Futures Markets, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 35(10), pages 953-960, October.
    12. Nancy L. Rose & Catherine Wolfram, 2000. "Regulating Executive Pay: Using the Tax Code to Influence CEO Compensation," NBER Working Papers 7842, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    13. Mixon Jr, Franklin G. & W. McKenzie, Russell, 1999. "Managerial tenure under private and government ownership: the case of higher education," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 18(1), pages 51-58, February.
    14. Johnson, Marilyn F. & Nelson, Karen K. & Shackell, Margaret B., 2001. "An Empirical Analysis of the SEC's 1992 Proxy Reforms on Executive Compensation," Research Papers 1679, Stanford University, Graduate School of Business.
    15. Hadlock, Charles J & Lee, D Scott & Parrino, Robert, 2002. "Chief Executive Officer Careers in Regulated Environments: Evidence from Electric and Gas Utilities," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 45(2), pages 535-563, October.
    16. Perry, Tod & Zenner, Marc, 2001. "Pay for performance? Government regulation and the structure of compensation contracts," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 62(3), pages 453-488, December.
    17. Li, Donghui & Moshirian, Fariborz & Nguyen, Pascal & Tan, Liwen, 2007. "Corporate governance or globalization: What determines CEO compensation in China?," Research in International Business and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 21(1), pages 32-49, January.
    18. Carlo Cambini & Sara De Masi & Laura Rondi, 2013. "Incentive Compensation and Incentive Regulation: Empirical Evidence," IEFE Working Papers 58, IEFE, Center for Research on Energy and Environmental Economics and Policy, Universita' Bocconi, Milano, Italy.
    19. Becher, David A. & Frye, Melissa B., 2011. "Does regulation substitute or complement governance?," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 35(3), pages 736-751, March.
    20. Dey, Oindrila & Banerjee, Swapnendu, 2010. "Incentive, status and thereafter: A critical survey," MPRA Paper 57058, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    21. repec:eee:labchp:v:3:y:1999:i:pb:p:2485-2563 is not listed on IDEAS
    22. Lerong He & Rong Yang, 2014. "Does Industry Regulation Matter? New Evidence on Audit Committees and Earnings Management," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 123(4), pages 573-589, September.
    23. Taye Mengistae & Lixin Colin Xu, 2004. "Agency Theory and Executive Compensation: The Case of Chinese State-Owned Enterprises," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 22(3), pages 615-638, July.
    24. Carlo Cambini & Sara De Masi & Laura Rondi, 2016. "CEO incentives in European energy utilities: evidence from regulated versus unregulated firms," Economia e Politica Industriale: Journal of Industrial and Business Economics, Springer;Associazione Amici di Economia e Politica Industriale, vol. 43(2), pages 127-155, June.
    25. Julien A. Hanoteau, 2003. "Lobbying for Emissions Allowances: A New Perspective on the Political Economy of the US Acid Rain Program," Rivista di Politica Economica, SIPI Spa, vol. 93(1), pages 289-314, January-F.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • L5 - Industrial Organization - - Regulation and Industrial Policy
    • L2 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior

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