The Other Side of the Tradeoff: The Impact of Risk on Executive Compensation
The principal-agent model of executive compensation is of central importance to the modern theory of the firm and corporate governance, yet the existing empirical evidence supporting it is quite weak. The key predication of the model is that the executive's pay-performance sensitivity is decreasing in the variance of the firm's performance. We demonstrate strong empirical confirmation of this prediction using a comprehensive sample of executives at large corporations. In general, the pay-performance sensitivity for executives at firms with the least volatile stock prices is an order of magnitude greater than the pay-performance sensitivity for executives at firms with the most volatile stock prices. This result holds for both chief executive officers and for other highly compensated executives. We further show that estimates of the pay-performance sensitivity that do not explicitly account for the effect of the variance of firm performance are biased toward zero. We also test for relative performance evaluation of executives against the performance of other firms. We find little support for the relative performance evaluation model. Our findings suggest that executive compensation contracts incorporate the benefits of risk-sharing but do not incorporate the potential informational advantages of relative performance evaluation.
|Date of creation:||Jul 1998|
|Date of revision:|
|Publication status:||published as Journal of Political Economy, Vol. 107 (February 1999): 65-105.|
|Note:||AP CF LS|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.|
Web page: http://www.nber.org
More information through EDIRC
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- repec:sae:ilrrev:v:43:y:1990:i:3:p:30-51 is not listed on IDEAS
- Jason R. Barro & Robert J. Barro, 1990.
"Pay, Performance, and Turnover of Bank CEOs,"
NBER Working Papers
3262, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Brian J. Hall & Jeffrey B. Liebman, 1998.
"Are CEOs Really Paid Like Bureaucrats?,"
The Quarterly Journal of Economics,
Oxford University Press, vol. 113(3), pages 653-691.
- Garen, John E, 1994. "Executive Compensation and Principal-Agent Theory," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 102(6), pages 1175-99, December.
- Andrei Shleifer & Robert W. Vishny, 1995.
"A Survey of Corporate Governance,"
Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers
1741, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
- Bengt Holmstrom, 1979.
"Moral Hazard and Observability,"
Bell Journal of Economics,
The RAND Corporation, vol. 10(1), pages 74-91, Spring.
- Brian J. Hall & Jeffrey B. Liebman, 1997. "Are CEOs Paid Like Bureaucrats?," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1789, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
- Koenker, Roger & Bassett, Gilbert, Jr, 1982. "Robust Tests for Heteroscedasticity Based on Regression Quantiles," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(1), pages 43-61, January.
- Bengt Holmstrom & Paul R. Milgrom, 1985.
"Aggregation and Linearity in the Provision of Intertemporal Incentives,"
Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers
742, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
- Holmstrom, Bengt & Milgrom, Paul, 1987. "Aggregation and Linearity in the Provision of Intertemporal Incentives," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 55(2), pages 303-28, March.
- Joseph G. Haubrich, 1991.
"Risk aversion, performance pay, and the principal-agent problem,"
9118, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.
- Haubrich, Joseph G, 1994. "Risk Aversion, Performance Pay, and the Principal-Agent Problem," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 102(2), pages 258-76, April.
- Bengt Holmstrom, 1982.
"Moral Hazard in Teams,"
Bell Journal of Economics,
The RAND Corporation, vol. 13(2), pages 324-340, Autumn.
- Moshe Buchinsky, 1998. "Recent Advances in Quantile Regression Models: A Practical Guideline for Empirical Research," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 33(1), pages 88-126.
- Robert Gibbons & Kevin J. Murphy, 1989.
"Relative Performance Evaluation for Chief Executive Officers,"
NBER Working Papers
2944, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Gibbons, R. & Murphy, K.J., 1989. "Relative Performance Evaluation For Chief Executive Officers," Working papers 532, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
- William Gould, 1993. "Quantile regression with bootstrapped standard errors," Stata Technical Bulletin, StataCorp LP, vol. 2(9).
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:6634. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: ()
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.