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What Explains the Rise in CEO Pay in Germany? A Panel Data Analysis for 1977-2009

  • Francesca Fabbri
  • Dalia Marin

The compensation of executive board members in Germany has become a highly controversial topic since Vodafone’s hostile takeover of Mannesmann in 2000 and it is again in the spotlight since the outbreak of the financial crisis of 2009. Based on unique panel data evidence of the 500 largest firms in Germany in the period 1977-2009 we test two prominent hypothesis in the literature on executive pay: the manager power hypothesis and the efficient pay hypothesis. We find support for the manager power hypothesis for Germany as executives tend to be rewarded when the sector is doing well rather than the firm they work for. We reject, however, the efficient pay hypothesis as CEO pay and the demand for managers increases in Germany in difficult times when the typical firm size shrinks. We find further that domestic and global competition for managers has contributed to the rise in executive pay in Germany. Lastly, we show that CEOs in the banking sector are provided with incentives for performance and that the great recession of 2009 acted as a disciplining devise on CEO pay in Germany.

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Paper provided by CESifo Group Munich in its series CESifo Working Paper Series with number 3757.

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Date of creation: 2012
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Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_3757
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  1. Richard Blundell & Steve Bond, 1995. "Initial conditions and moment restrictions in dynamic panel data models," IFS Working Papers W95/17, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  2. Carola Frydman & Dirk Jenter, 2010. "CEO Compensation," NBER Working Papers 16585, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Carola Frydman & Raven E. Saks, 2008. "Executive Compensation: A New View from a Long-Term Perspective, 1936-2005," NBER Working Papers 14145, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Arellano, Manuel & Bover, Olympia, 1995. "Another look at the instrumental variable estimation of error-components models," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 68(1), pages 29-51, July.
  5. 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.
  6. Christian Dustmann & Johannes Ludsteck & Uta Schönberg, 2009. "Revisiting the German Wage Structure," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 124(2), pages 843-881, May.
  7. Conyon, Martin J, 1998. "Directors' Pay and Turnover: An Application to a Sample of Large UK Firms," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 60(4), pages 485-507, November.
  8. Cuñat, Vicente & Guadalupe, Maria, 2006. "Globalization and the Provision of Incentives Inside the Firm: The Effect of Foreign Competition," IZA Discussion Papers 2408, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  9. Xavier Gabaix & Augustin Landier, 2006. "Why Has CEO Pay Increased So Much?," NBER Working Papers 12365, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Fabien Dell, 2005. "Top Incomes in Germany and Switzerland Over the Twentieth Century," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 3(2-3), pages 412-421, 04/05.
  11. Philippon, Thomas & Reshef, Ariell, 2009. "Wages and Human Capital in the U.S. Financial Industry: 1909-2006," CEPR Discussion Papers 7282, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  12. Dalia Marin, 2009. "The battle for talent: globalisation and the rise of executive pay," Working Papers 236, Bruegel.
  13. Arellano, Manuel & Bond, Stephen, 1991. "Some Tests of Specification for Panel Data: Monte Carlo Evidence and an Application to Employment Equations," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 58(2), pages 277-97, April.
  14. Cuñat, Vicente & Guadalupe, Maria, 2006. "Globalization and the Provision of Incentives Inside the Firm," CEPR Discussion Papers 5950, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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