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Pay-for-(Persistent)-Luck: CEO Bonuses Under Relational and Formal Contracting

Author

Listed:
  • Jed DeVaro

    (California State University)

  • Jin-Hyuk Kim

    (University of Colorado at Boulder)

  • Nick Vikander

    (Department of Economics, Copenhagen University)

Abstract

This study investigates the structure of optimal incentives in a stochastic environment and provides evidence for the use of self-enforcing relational contracts. We show theoretically that under relational contracting, firms can credibly promise chief executive officers (CEOs) larger bonuses in good states than in bad, in a way that depends crucially on the state's persistence and the firm's discount factor. Formal contracting instead implies the same bonus in both states. Estimating an empirical model using ExecuComp data, we find that CEO annual bonuses are related to "luck" in a manner consistent with relational contracting.

Suggested Citation

  • Jed DeVaro & Jin-Hyuk Kim & Nick Vikander, 2014. "Pay-for-(Persistent)-Luck: CEO Bonuses Under Relational and Formal Contracting," Discussion Papers 14-13, University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:kud:kuiedp:1413
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    File URL: http://www.econ.ku.dk/english/research/publications/wp/dp_2014/1413.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Ricard Gil & Giorgio Zanarone, 2016. "New Frontiers in Empirical Research on Informal Contracting," Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics (JITE), Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 172(2), pages 390-407, June.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    relational contracts; CEO compensation; pay-for-luck;

    JEL classification:

    • C73 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Stochastic and Dynamic Games; Evolutionary Games
    • D86 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Economics of Contract Law
    • J41 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets - - - Labor Contracts

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