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CEO Pay and Firm Performance: Dynamics, Asymmetries, and Alternative Performance Measures

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  • Paul L. Joskow
  • Nancy L. Rose

Abstract

This study explores the dynamic structure of the pay-for- performance relationship in CEO compensation and quantifies the effect of introducing a more complex model of firm financial performance on the estimated performance sensitivity of executive pay. The results suggest that current compensation responds to past performance outcomes, but that the effect decays considerably within two years. This contrasts sharply with models of infinitely persistent performance effects implicitly assumed in much of the empirical compensation literature. We find that both accounting and market performance measures influence compensation and that the salary and bonus component of pay as well as total compensation have become more sensitive to firm financial performance over the past two decades. There is no evidence that boards fail to penalize CEOs for poor financial performance or reward them disproportionately well for good performance. Finally, the data suggest that boards may discount extreme performance outcomes -both high and low - relative to performance that lies within some `normal' band in setting compensation.

Suggested Citation

  • Paul L. Joskow & Nancy L. Rose, 1994. "CEO Pay and Firm Performance: Dynamics, Asymmetries, and Alternative Performance Measures," NBER Working Papers 4976, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:4976
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    File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w4976.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Barro, Jason R & Barro, Robert J, 1990. "Pay, Performance, and Turnover of Bank CEOs," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 8(4), pages 448-481, October.
    2. Nancy L. Rose & Andrea Shepard, 1997. "Firm Diversification and CEO Compensation: Managerial Ability or Executive Entrenchment?," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 28(3), pages 489-514, Autumn.
    3. Sherwin Rosen, 1990. "Contracts and the Market for Executives," NBER Working Papers 3542, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Joskow, Paul L. & Rose, Nancy L. & Shepard, Andrea., 1993. "Regulatory constraints on executive compensation," Working papers 3550-93., Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Sloan School of Management.
    5. Richard A. Lambert, 1983. "Long-Term Contracts and Moral Hazard," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 14(2), pages 441-452, Autumn.
    6. Hubbard, R. Glenn & Palia, Darius, 1995. "Executive pay and performance Evidence from the U.S. banking industry," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 39(1), pages 105-130, September.
    7. repec:bin:bpeajo:v:24:y:1993:i:1993-1m:p:1-72 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Gibbons, Robert & Murphy, Kevin J, 1992. "Optimal Incentive Contracts in the Presence of Career Concerns: Theory and Evidence," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(3), pages 468-505, June.
    9. 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 225-264, April.
    10. Robert Gibbons & Kevin J. Murphy, 1990. "Relative Performance Evaluation for Chief Executive Officers," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 43(3), pages 30, April.
    11. Steven N. Kaplan, 1992. "Top Executive Rewards and Firm Performance: A Comparison of Japan and the U.S," NBER Working Papers 4065, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    12. Bengt Holmstrom, 1979. "Moral Hazard and Observability," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 10(1), pages 74-91, Spring.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • G3 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance
    • J3 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs

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