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Say Pays! Shareholder Voice and Firm Performance


  • Cuñat, Vicente
  • Gine, Mireia
  • Guadalupe, Maria


This paper estimates the effects of Say-on-Pay (SoP); a policy that increases shareholder "voice" by providing shareholders with a regular vote on executive pay. We apply a regression discontinuity design to the votes on shareholder-sponsored SoP proposals. Adopting SoP leads to large increases in market value (4.6%) and to improvements in long-term performance: profitability and labor productivity increase, while overheads and investment fall. In contrast, we find limited effects on pay levels and structure. This suggests that SoP operates as a regular vote of confidence, increasing efficiency and market value.

Suggested Citation

  • Cuñat, Vicente & Gine, Mireia & Guadalupe, Maria, 2013. "Say Pays! Shareholder Voice and Firm Performance," MPRA Paper 48489, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:48489

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. David S. Lee & Thomas Lemieux, 2010. "Regression Discontinuity Designs in Economics," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 48(2), pages 281-355, June.
    2. David S. Lee & Alexandre Mas, 2012. "Long-Run Impacts of Unions on Firms: New Evidence from Financial Markets, 1961--1999," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 127(1), pages 333-378.
    3. Cai, Jie & Walkling, Ralph A., 2011. "Shareholders’ Say on Pay: Does It Create Value?," Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, Cambridge University Press, vol. 46(02), pages 299-339, April.
    4. Vicente Cuñat & Mireia Gine & Maria Guadalupe, 2012. "The Vote Is Cast: The Effect of Corporate Governance on Shareholder Value," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 67(5), pages 1943-1977, October.
    5. Gantchev, Nickolay, 2013. "The costs of shareholder activism: Evidence from a sequential decision model," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 107(3), pages 610-631.
    6. Larcker, David F. & Ormazabal, Gaizka & Taylor, Daniel J., 2011. "The market reaction to corporate governance regulation," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 101(2), pages 431-448, August.
    7. Carhart, Mark M, 1997. " On Persistence in Mutual Fund Performance," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 52(1), pages 57-82, March.
    8. Lee, David S., 2008. "Randomized experiments from non-random selection in U.S. House elections," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 142(2), pages 675-697, February.
    9. Yonca Ertimur & Fabrizio Ferri & Volkan Muslu, 2011. "Shareholder Activism and CEO Pay," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 24(2), pages 535-592.
    10. Core, John & Guay, Wayne, 1999. "The use of equity grants to manage optimal equity incentive levels," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 28(2), pages 151-184, December.
    11. McCrary, Justin, 2008. "Manipulation of the running variable in the regression discontinuity design: A density test," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 142(2), pages 698-714, February.
    12. Ernst Maug & Kristian Rydqvist, 2009. "Do Shareholders Vote Strategically? Voting Behavior, Proposal Screening, and Majority Rules," Review of Finance, European Finance Association, vol. 13(1), pages 47-79.
    13. Fabrizio Ferri & David A. Maber, 2013. "Say on Pay Votes and CEO Compensation: Evidence from the UK," Review of Finance, European Finance Association, vol. 17(2), pages 527-563.
    14. Stuart L. Gillan & Laura T. Starks, 2007. "The Evolution of Shareholder Activism in the United States," Journal of Applied Corporate Finance, Morgan Stanley, vol. 19(1), pages 55-73.
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    Cited by:

    1. Pierre Chaigneau & Nicolas Sahuguet, "undated". "The structure of CEO pay: pay-for-luck and stock-options," FMG Discussion Papers dp713, Financial Markets Group.
    2. Cu�at, Vicente & Gine, Mireia & Guadalupe, Maria, 2017. "Price and Probability: Decomposing the Takeover Effects of Anti-Takeover Provisions," CEPR Discussion Papers 12059, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    3. Vizcaíno, Marcos & Chousa, Juan P., 2016. "Analyzing the influence of the funds' support on Tobin's q using SEM and fsQCA," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 69(6), pages 2118-2124.
    4. Martin Bugeja & Zoltan Matolcsy & Helen Spiropoulos, 2016. "The Association Between Gender-Diverse Compensation Committees and CEO Compensation," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 139(2), pages 375-390, December.
    5. repec:spr:qualqt:v:51:y:2017:i:5:d:10.1007_s11135-016-0375-5 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item


    Say-on-Pay; Shareholder Voice; Executive Compensation; Firm Performance; Governance;

    JEL classification:

    • G34 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Mergers; Acquisitions; Restructuring; Corporate Governance
    • L20 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - General
    • M12 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Business Administration - - - Personnel Management; Executives; Executive Compensation

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