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Firm Size and Executive Compensation


  • Peter F. Kostiuk


Using several data sets, the relationship between executive income and firm size is shown to be relatively stable over time and in different countries. The elasticity of executive earnings to firm size is about the same today as it was in the 1930s, with evidence of a decline in the earnings of top executives, controlling for firm size. In addition to the effects of size and other firm and industry characteristics, there are returns to age and experience. There is also substantial variability in the level of compensation among firms of comparable size, indicating that there may be impediments to mobility.

Suggested Citation

  • Peter F. Kostiuk, 1990. "Firm Size and Executive Compensation," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 25(1), pages 90-105.
  • Handle: RePEc:uwp:jhriss:v:25:y:1990:i:1:p:90-105

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. George-Levi Gayle & Robert A. Miller, 2009. "Has Moral Hazard Become a More Important Factor in Managerial Compensation?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(5), pages 1740-1769, December.
    2. Xavier Gabaix, 2009. "Power Laws in Economics and Finance," Annual Review of Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 1(1), pages 255-294, May.
    3. Kemp-Benedict, Eric, 2015. "New ways to slice the pie: Span of control and wage and salary distribution within firms," MPRA Paper 77072, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 24 Feb 2017.
    4. Marianne Bertrand & Kevin F. Hallock, 2001. "The Gender Gap in Top Corporate Jobs," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 55(1), pages 3-21, October.
    5. Gian Luca Clementi & Thomas Cooley, 2009. "Executive Compensation: Facts," Working Papers 09-16, New York University, Leonard N. Stern School of Business, Department of Economics.
    6. Xavier Gabaix & Augustin Landier, 2008. "Why has CEO Pay Increased So Much?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 123(1), pages 49-100.
    7. Kenneth W. Clements & H. Y. Izan, 2008. "The Stairway to the Top: The Remuneration of Academic Executives," Australian Journal of Management, Australian School of Business, vol. 33(1), pages 1-30, June.
    8. Yusuf Mohammed Nulla & Dimitris Nikolaou Koumparoulis, 2013. "CEO Compensation System in Large Canadian Financial Institutions," International Journal of Economics & Business Administration (IJEBA), International Journal of Economics & Business Administration (IJEBA), vol. 0(1), pages 137-155.
    9. Fernandes, Ana & Ferreira, Priscila & Winters, L. Alan, 2014. "The Effect of Competition on Managers’ Compensation: Evidence From a Quasi-natural Experiment," CEPR Discussion Papers 10054, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    10. Anderson, Ronald W. & Bustamante, Maria Cecilia & Guibaud, Stéphane & Zervos, Mihail, 2017. "Agency, firm growth, and managerial turnover," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 68784, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    11. Alex Edmans & Xavier Gabaix, 2016. "Executive Compensation: A Modern Primer," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 54(4), pages 1232-1287, December.
    12. Donovan A. McFarlane, 2015. "Gaps in Executive and Worker Compensation as an Organizational and Management Challenge," Journal of Entrepreneurship and Business Innovation, Macrothink Institute, Journal of Entrepreneurship and Business Innovation, vol. 2(1), pages 1-15, June.
    13. Shams, Syed M.M. & Gunasekarage, Abeyratna & Colombage, Sisira R.N., 2013. "Does the organisational form of the target influence market reaction to acquisition announcements? Australian evidence," Pacific-Basin Finance Journal, Elsevier, vol. 24(C), pages 89-108.
    14. Humphery-Jenner, M., 2011. "Internal and External Discipline Following Securities Class Actions," Discussion Paper 2011-044, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
    15. Xu, Peng, 1997. "Executive Salaries as Tournament Prizes and Executive Bonuses as Managerial Incentives in Japan," Journal of the Japanese and International Economies, Elsevier, vol. 11(3), pages 319-346, September.
    16. Humphery-Jenner, Mark L., 2012. "Internal and external discipline following securities class actions," Journal of Financial Intermediation, Elsevier, vol. 21(1), pages 151-179.
    17. Kemp-Benedict, Eric, 2015. "A middle-manager model of wage and salary distribution within firms," MPRA Paper 64303, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    18. Graßhoff, Ulrike & Schwalbach, Joachim, 1997. "Corporate restructuring, downsizing and managerial compensation," SFB 373 Discussion Papers 1998,35, Humboldt University of Berlin, Interdisciplinary Research Project 373: Quantification and Simulation of Economic Processes.
    19. repec:eee:labchp:v:3:y:1999:i:pb:p:2485-2563 is not listed on IDEAS

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