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

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Listed:
  • 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.
    2. Joskow, Paul L. & Rose, Nancy L. & Shepard, Andrea., 1993. "Regulatory constraints on executive compensation," Working papers 3550-93., Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Sloan School of Management.
    3. George J. Stigler, 1971. "The Theory of Economic Regulation," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 2(1), pages 3-21, Spring.
    4. Smiley, Robert H. & Greene, William H., 1983. "Determinants of the effectiveness of electric utility regulation," Resources and Energy, Elsevier, vol. 5(1), pages 65-81, March.
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    6. 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.
    7. 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.
    8. 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.
    9. 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.
    10. 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.
    11. Sloan, Richard G., 1993. "Accounting earnings and top executive compensation," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 16(1-3), pages 55-100, April.
    12. 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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    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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