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CEO Bonding: Who Posts Performance Bonds and Why?

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  • Alex Bryson
  • John Forth
  • Minghai Zhou

Abstract

Despite their theoretical value in tackling principal-agent problems at low cost to firms there is almost no empirical literature on the prevalence and correlates of performance bonds posted by corporate executives. Using data for China we examine their incidence and test propositions from principal-agent theory regarding their correlates. Around one-tenth of corporations deploy performance bonds. They are sizeable relative to CEO cash compensation. Ceteris paribus, CEO's posting performance bonds are more likely than other CEO's to have their compensation linked to firm performance in other ways and the elasticity of their pay with respect to firm performance is greater. They are also more likely to hold company stock. Thus bonds appear to be complements to rather than substitutes for other forms of corporate incentive. The negative association between bonds and sales volatility is consistent with principal-agent theory. Positive associations between performance bonds and firm age, the CEOs ranking in the Communist Party, and city-level clustering in the use of bonds are all consistent with 'legacy' effects dating back to the use of performance bonds in the early reform period. The only corporate governance measure that is strongly and robustly associated with an increased use of bonds is employee representation on the board of directors.

Suggested Citation

  • Alex Bryson & John Forth & Minghai Zhou, 2012. "CEO Bonding: Who Posts Performance Bonds and Why?," CEP Discussion Papers dp1135, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  • Handle: RePEc:cep:cepdps:dp1135
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    File URL: http://cep.lse.ac.uk/pubs/download/dp1135.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Rebitzer, James B. & Taylor, Lowell J., 2011. "Extrinsic Rewards and Intrinsic Motives: Standard and Behavioral Approaches to Agency and Labor Markets," Handbook of Labor Economics, Elsevier.
    2. Taye Mengistae & Lixin Colin Xu, 2004. "Agency Theory and Executive Compensation: The Case of Chinese State-Owned Enterprises," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 22(3), pages 615-638, July.
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    Cited by:

    1. Alex Bryson & John Forth & Minghai Zhou, 2014. "Same or Different? The CEO Labour Market in China's Public Listed Companies," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 124(574), pages 90-108, February.
    2. Kang, Lili & Peng, Fei, 2014. "Acquisition Premiums of Executive Compensation in China: a Matching View," MPRA Paper 55766, University Library of Munich, Germany.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    performance bonds; security deposits; executive compensation; CEOs; corporate governance; agency theory; China;

    JEL classification:

    • G34 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Mergers; Acquisitions; Restructuring; Corporate Governance
    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials
    • J33 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Compensation Packages; Payment Methods
    • M12 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Business Administration - - - Personnel Management; Executives; Executive Compensation
    • M52 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Personnel Economics - - - Compensation and Compensation Methods and Their Effects
    • O16 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Financial Markets; Saving and Capital Investment; Corporate Finance and Governance
    • P31 - Economic Systems - - Socialist Institutions and Their Transitions - - - Socialist Enterprises and Their Transitions

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