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CEO Pay and Firm Size: An Update After the Crisis

Listed author(s):
  • Xavier Gabaix
  • Augustin Landier
  • Julien Sauvagnat

In the "size of stakes" view quantitatively formalized in Gabaix and Landier (2008), CEO compensation is determined in a competitive talent market, and reflects the size of firms affected by talent. This paper offers an empirical update on this view. The years 2004-2011, which include the recent crisis, were not part of the initial study and offer a laboratory to examine the theory as they include new positive and negative shocks to the size of large firms. Executive compensation at the top (ex ante) did closely track the evolution of average firm value during those years. During the crisis (2007 - 2009), average total firm value decreased by 17%, and CEO pay decreased by 28%. During 2009-2011, we observe a rebound of firm value by 19% and of CEO pay increased by 22%. These fairly proportional changes provide a validity check in favor of the "size of stakes" view.

(This abstract was borrowed from another version of this item.)

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File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1111/ecoj.2014.124.issue-574
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Article provided by Royal Economic Society in its journal The Economic Journal.

Volume (Year): 124 (2014)
Issue (Month): 574 (02)
Pages: 40-59

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Handle: RePEc:wly:econjl:v:124:y:2014:i:574:p:f40-f59
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  1. Brian J. Hall, 1999. "The Design Of Multi-Year Stock Option Plans," Journal of Applied Corporate Finance, Morgan Stanley, vol. 12(2), pages 97-106.
  2. Kevin J. Murphy & Ján Zábojník, 2004. "CEO Pay and Appointments: A Market-Based Explanation for Recent Trends," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(2), pages 192-196, May.
  3. Anil Shivdasani & David Yermack, 1998. "CEO Involvement in the Selection of New Board Members: An Empirical Analysis," New York University, Leonard N. Stern School Finance Department Working Paper Seires 98-059, New York University, Leonard N. Stern School of Business-.
  4. Xavier Gabaix & Augustin Landier, 2006. "Why Has CEO Pay Increased So Much?," NBER Working Papers 12365, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Lemieux, Thomas & MacLeod, W. Bentley & Parent, Daniel, 2007. "Performance Pay and Wage Inequality," IZA Discussion Papers 2850, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  6. Camelia M. Kuhnen & Andrea L. Eisfeldt, 2010. "CEO Turnover in a Competitive Assignment Framework," 2010 Meeting Papers 1081, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  7. Xavier Gabaix & Rustam Ibragimov, 2011. "Rank - 1 / 2: A Simple Way to Improve the OLS Estimation of Tail Exponents," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 29(1), pages 24-39, January.
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  9. Carola Frydman & Raven E. Saks, 2010. "Executive Compensation: A New View from a Long-Term Perspective, 1936--2005," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 23(5), pages 2099-2138.
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  17. Sattinger, Michael, 1993. "Assignment Models of the Distribution of Earnings," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 31(2), pages 831-880, June.
  18. Alex Edmans & Xavier Gabaix & Augustin Landier, 2009. "A Multiplicative Model of Optimal CEO Incentives in Market Equilibrium," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 22(12), pages 4881-4917, December.
  19. Murphy, Kevin J. & Sandino, Tatiana, 2010. "Executive pay and "independent" compensation consultants," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 49(3), pages 247-262, April.
  20. Gabaix, Xavier & Ibragimov, Rustam, 2011. "Rank − 1 / 2: A Simple Way to Improve the OLS Estimation of Tail Exponents," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 29(1), pages 24-39.
  21. Bereskin, Frederick L. & Cicero, David C., 2013. "CEO compensation contagion: Evidence from an exogenous shock," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 107(2), pages 477-493.
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