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CEO Pay and Firm Size: an Update after the Crisis

  • Gabaix, Xavier
  • Landier, Augustin
  • Sauvagnat, Julien

In the "size of stakes" view quantitatively formalized in Gabaix and Landier (2008), CEO compensation is determined in a competitive talent market, and re flects the size of firms affected by talent. This paper offers empirical update on this view. The years 2004-2011, which include the recent crisis, were not part of the initial study and o er 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 rm 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.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 9498.

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Date of creation: Jun 2013
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:9498
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  1. Marianne Bertrand & Sendhil Mullainathan, 2001. "Are Ceos Rewarded For Luck? The Ones Without Principals Are," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 116(3), pages 901-932, August.
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  11. Anil Shivdasani & David Yermack, 1999. "CEO Involvement in the Selection of New Board Members: An Empirical Analysis," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 54(5), pages 1829-1853, October.
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  13. Eisfeldt, Andrea & Kuhnen, Camelia M., 2010. "CEO turnover in a competitive assignment framework," MPRA Paper 22367, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  14. Xavier Gabaix & Augustin Landier, 2006. "Why Has CEO Pay Increased So Much?," NBER Working Papers 12365, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Xavier Gabaix, 1999. "Zipf'S Law For Cities: An Explanation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 114(3), pages 739-767, August.
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  17. Michael Faulkender & Jun Yang, 2013. "Is Disclosure an Effective Cleansing Mechanism? The Dynamics of Compensation Peer Benchmarking," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 26(3), pages 806-839.
  18. Sattinger, Michael, 1993. "Assignment Models of the Distribution of Earnings," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 31(2), pages 831-80, June.
  19. Alex Edmans & Xavier Gabaix, 2011. "The Effect of Risk on the CEO Market," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 24(8), pages 2822-2863.
  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. Yonca Ertimur & Fabrizio Ferri & David Oesch, 2013. "Shareholder Votes and Proxy Advisors: Evidence from Say on Pay," Journal of Accounting Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 51(5), pages 951-996, December.
  22. Cadman, Brian & Carter, Mary Ellen & Hillegeist, Stephen, 2010. "The incentives of compensation consultants and CEO pay," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 49(3), pages 263-280, April.
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  26. Bizjak, John & Lemmon, Michael & Nguyen, Thanh, 2011. "Are all CEOs above average? An empirical analysis of compensation peer groups and pay design," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 100(3), pages 538-555, June.
  27. 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.
  28. 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.
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