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Top Executive Pay in the United Kingdom: A Corporate Governance Dilemma

  • Phillip McKnight
  • Cyril Tomkins
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    This study represents a first attempt in the UK literature to split total pay into salary, annual bonus and share options for the purpose of empirically verifying how each is related to executive performance. As predicted from earlier studies on total pay, salaries were found primarily determined by firm size. Contarary to prior research, however, our findings suggest a pronounced link does exist between performance and pay over both the short- and long-term. This is manifested particularly by the magnitude of the coefficient estimates found between changes in shareholders return and changes in executive share options. This finding strongly suggests that the leverage executives achieve, on average, in their rewards as share prices increase may well be substantial; a finding that has not been captured in previous research on executive remuneration and which is of considerable relevance to the current corporate governance debates.

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    File URL: http://www.tandfonline.com/10.1080/13571519984241
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    Article provided by Taylor & Francis Journals in its journal International Journal of the Economics of Business.

    Volume (Year): 6 (1999)
    Issue (Month): 2 ()
    Pages: 223-243

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    Handle: RePEc:taf:ijecbs:v:6:y:1999:i:2:p:223-243
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    1. 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.
    2. Conyon, Martin J & Leech, Dennis, 1994. "Top Pay, Company Performance and Corporate Governance," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 56(3), pages 229-47, August.
    3. Fama, Eugene F, 1980. "Agency Problems and the Theory of the Firm," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 88(2), pages 288-307, April.
    4. Jensen, Michael C. & Meckling, William H., 1976. "Theory of the firm: Managerial behavior, agency costs and ownership structure," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 3(4), pages 305-360, October.
    5. 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.
    6. Martin J Conyon & Paul Gregg, 1994. "Pay at the Top: A Study of the Sensitivity of Top Director Remuneration to Company Specific Shocks," National Institute Economic Review, National Institute of Economic and Social Research, vol. 149(1), pages 83-92, August.
    7. Conyon, Martin & Gregg, Paul & Machin, Stephen, 1995. "Taking Care of Business, Executive Compensation in the United Kingdom," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 105(430), pages 704-14, May.
    8. Main, Brian G M & Bruce, Alistair & Buck, Trevor, 1996. "Total Board Remuneration and Company Performance," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 106(439), pages 1627-44, November.
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