IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

Illusory correlation in the remuneration of chief executive officers: It pays to play golf, and well

Illusory correlation refers to the use of information in decisions that is uncorrelated with the relevant criterion. We document illusory correlation in CEO compensation decisions by demonstrating that information, that is uncorrelated with corporate performance, is related to CEO compensation. We use publicly available data from the USA for the years 1998, 2000, 2002, and 2004 to examine the relations between golf handicaps of CEOs and corporate performance, on the one hand, and CEO compensation and golf handicaps, on the other hand. Although we find no relation between handicap and corporate performance, we do find a relation between handicap and CEO compensation. In short, golfers earn more than non-golfers and pay increases with golfing ability. We relate these findings to the difficulties of judging compensation for CEOs. To overcome this – and possibly other illusory correlations – in these kinds of decisions, we recommend the use of explicit, mechanical decision rules.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
File Function: Whole Paper
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra in its series Economics Working Papers with number 1132.

in new window

Date of creation: Dec 2008
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:upf:upfgen:1132
Contact details of provider: Web page:

References listed on IDEAS
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.:

as in new window
  1. Alberto Abadie & David Drukker & Jane Leber Herr & Guido W. Imbens, 2004. "Implementing matching estimators for average treatment effects in Stata," Stata Journal, StataCorp LP, vol. 4(3), pages 290-311, September.
  2. Oyer, Paul, 2001. "Why Do Firms Use Incentives That Have No Incentive Effects?," Research Papers 1686, Stanford University, Graduate School of Business.
  3. Jegadeesh, Narasimhan & Titman, Sheridan, 1993. " Returns to Buying Winners and Selling Losers: Implications for Stock Market Efficiency," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 48(1), pages 65-91, March.
  4. Blanchard, Olivier Jean & Lopez-de-Silanes, Florencio & Shleifer, Andrei, 1994. "What do firms do with cash windfalls?," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 36(3), pages 337-360, December.
  5. Carhart, Mark M, 1997. " On Persistence in Mutual Fund Performance," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 52(1), pages 57-82, March.
  6. Fama, Eugene F, 1970. "Efficient Capital Markets: A Review of Theory and Empirical Work," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 25(2), pages 383-417, May.
  7. Garvey, Gerald T. & Milbourn, Todd T., 2006. "Asymmetric benchmarking in compensation: Executives are rewarded for good luck but not penalized for bad," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 82(1), pages 197-225, October.
  8. Fama, Eugene F. & French, Kenneth R., 1993. "Common risk factors in the returns on stocks and bonds," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 33(1), pages 3-56, February.
  9. Marco Celentani & Rosa Loveira, 2006. "A Simple Explanation of the Relative Performance Evaluation Puzzle," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 9(3), pages 525-540, July.
  10. Weber, Roberto & Camerer, Colin F. & Knez, Marc, 1996. "The Illusion of Leadership," Working Papers 992, California Institute of Technology, Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences.
  11. Natalia Karelaia & Robin Hogarth, 2007. "Determinants of linear judgment: A meta-analysis of lens model studies," Economics Working Papers 1007, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:upf:upfgen:1132. 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 you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.