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Are Energy Executives Rewarded For Luck?

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  • Lucas W. Davis
  • Catherine Hausman

Abstract

In this paper, we examine executive compensation data from 78 major U.S. oil and gas companies over a 24-year period. Perhaps in no other industry are the fortunes of so many executives so dependent on a single global commodity price. We find that a 10% increase in oil prices is associated with a 2% increase in executive compensation. This oil price effect holds for both CEOs and non-CEOs and separately for several different individual components of compensation, including bonuses. We find that the oil price effect is larger in companies with more insiders on the board, and asymmetric, with executive compensation rising with increasing oil prices more than it falls with decreasing oil prices. We then discuss potential mechanisms drawn from the broader existing literature on executive compensation.

Suggested Citation

  • Lucas W. Davis & Catherine Hausman, 2018. "Are Energy Executives Rewarded For Luck?," NBER Working Papers 25391, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:25391
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    Cited by:

    1. Matthias Efing & Harald Hau & Patrick Kampkktter & Jean-Charles Rochet, 2018. "Bank Bonus Pay as a Risk Sharing Contract," Working Papers hal-01847442, HAL.
    2. Michaelides, Panayotis G. & Tsionas, Efthymios G. & Konstantakis, Konstantinos N. & Xidonas, Panos, 2019. "The impact of market competition on CEO salary in the US energy sector1," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 132(C), pages 32-37.
    3. Shang, Xiaodan & Luo, Chuanjian & Wen, Qian, 2020. "Do Chinese executives reward for luck?," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 92(C), pages 318-325.

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • 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
    • G34 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Mergers; Acquisitions; Restructuring; Corporate Governance
    • Q40 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Energy - - - General

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