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Non‐performance Pay and Relational Contracting: Evidence from CEO Compensation


  • Jed DeVaro
  • Jin‐Hyuk Kim
  • Nick Vikander


CEOs are routinely compensated for aspects of firm performance that are beyond their control. This is puzzling from an agency perspective, which assumes performance pay should be efficient. Working within an agency framework, we provide a rational for this seemingly inefficient feature of CEO compensation by invoking the idea of informal agreements, specifically the theory of relational contracting. We derive observable implications to distinguish relational from formal contracting and, using ExecuComp data, find that CEOs' annual cash and equity incentive payments positively correlate with the cyclical component of sales and respond to measures of persistence as relational contracting theory predicts.

Suggested Citation

  • Jed DeVaro & Jin‐Hyuk Kim & Nick Vikander, 2018. "Non‐performance Pay and Relational Contracting: Evidence from CEO Compensation," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 128(613), pages 1923-1951, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:wly:econjl:v:128:y:2018:i:613:p:1923-1951
    DOI: 10.1111/ecoj.12471

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    Cited by:

    1. Ricard Gil & Giorgio Zanarone, 2018. "On the determinants and consequences of informal contracting," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 27(4), pages 726-741, October.
    2. Daniel Barron & Robert Gibbons & Ricard Gil & Kevin J.Murphy, 2020. "Relational Adaptation Under Reel Authority," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 66(5), pages 1868-1889, May.
    3. Haylock, Michael, 2020. "Executives' short-term and long-term incentives - a distributional analysis," University of Tübingen Working Papers in Business and Economics 131, University of Tuebingen, Faculty of Economics and Social Sciences, School of Business and Economics.

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