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Does Performance-Based Managerial Compensation Affect Subsequent Corporate Performance?

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  • John M. Abowd

Abstract

An effective performance-based compensation system must increase the probability of high performance corporate outcomes in order to justify the incremental expense relative to a straight salary system. A positive relation between current performance and current compensation indicates that the pay system is performance-based in practice, if not explicitly. This study considers whether increasing the sensitivity of current compensation to current performance is associated with higher performance in the future. For accounting-based performance measures, there is only weak evidence that greater performance-based compensation is associated with improved future performance. However, for economic and market performance measures, there is stronger evidence. Payment of an incremental 10% bonus for good economic performance is associated with a 30 to 90 basis point increase in the expected after tax gross economic return in the following fiscal year. Payment of an incremental raise of 10' following a good stock market performance is associated with a 400 to 1200 basis point increase in expected total shareholder return. These results are comparable in magnitude when compared to the intrinsic variability of the performance measure considered.

Suggested Citation

  • John M. Abowd, 1989. "Does Performance-Based Managerial Compensation Affect Subsequent Corporate Performance?," NBER Working Papers 3149, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:3149
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. John M. Abowd & Francis Kramarz & David N. Margolis, 1999. "High Wage Workers and High Wage Firms," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 67(2), pages 251-334, March.
    2. Grant, Simon & King, Stephen & Polak, Ben, 1996. " Information Externalities, Share-Price Based Incentives and Managerial Behaviour," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 10(1), pages 1-21, March.
    3. Charles Brown, 1992. "Wage Levels and Method of Pay," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 23(3), pages 366-375, Autumn.
    4. Patrick Artus & Philippe Ducos & Francois Lecointe, 1992. "Rachats d'entreprise avec endettement (LBO et MBO) : motivations micro-économiques, effets sur l'efficacité des entreprises et risques macro-économiques," Économie et Prévision, Programme National Persée, vol. 102(1), pages 89-104.
    5. Paul Gregg & Sarah Jewell & Ian Tonks, 2005. "Executive Pay and Performance in the UK 1994-2002," The Centre for Market and Public Organisation 05/122, Department of Economics, University of Bristol, UK.

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