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What form of relative performance evaluation?


  • Marco Celentani
  • Rosa Loveira-Pazó


We study relative performance evaluation in executive compensation when executives have private information about their ability. We assume that the joint distribution of an individual firm’s profit and market movements depends on the ability of the executive that runs the firm. In the equilibrium of the executive labor market, compensation schemes exploit this fact to sort executives of di ?erent abilities. This implies that executive compensation is increasing in own performance, but may also be increasing in industry performance-a sharp departure from standard relative performance evaluation. This result provides an explanation for the scarcity of relative performance considerations in executive compensation documented by the empirical literature.

Suggested Citation

  • Marco Celentani & Rosa Loveira-Pazó, 2004. "What form of relative performance evaluation?," Economics Working Papers 744, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
  • Handle: RePEc:upf:upfgen:744

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    References listed on IDEAS

    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.
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    3. Rajesh K. Aggarwal & Andrew A. Samwick, 1999. "The Other Side of the Trade-off: The Impact of Risk on Executive Compensation," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 107(1), pages 65-105, February.
    4. Ricart I Costa, Joan E., 1989. "On managerial contracting with asymmetric information," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 33(9), pages 1805-1829, December.
    5. Bebchuk, Lucian Arye & Fried, Jesse & Walker, David I, 2002. "Managerial Power and Rent Extraction in the Design of Executive Compensation," CEPR Discussion Papers 3558, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    6. Sung Wook Joh, 1999. "Strategic Managerial Incentive Compensation In Japan: Relative Performance Evaluation And Product Market Collusion," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 81(2), pages 303-313, May.
    7. Canice Prendergast, 1999. "The Provision of Incentives in Firms," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 37(1), pages 7-63, March.
    8. John M. Abowd & David S. Kaplan, 1999. "Executive Compensation: Six Questions That Need Answering," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 13(4), pages 145-168, Fall.
    9. Gibbons, R. & Murphy, K.J., 1989. "Relative Performance Evaluation For Chief Executive Officers," Working papers 532, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
    10. Maskin, Eric & Tirole, Jean, 1992. "The Principal-Agent Relationship with an Informed Principal, II: Common Values," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 60(1), pages 1-42, January.
    11. Jaap H. Abbring & James J. Heckman & Pierre-André Chiappori & Jean Pinquet, 2003. "Adverse Selection and Moral Hazard In Insurance: Can Dynamic Data Help to Distinguish?," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 1(2-3), pages 512-521, 04/05.
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    13. 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.
    14. Paul Oyer, 2004. "Why Do Firms Use Incentives That Have No Incentive Effects?," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 59(4), pages 1619-1650, August.
    15. 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.
    16. Hellwig, Martin, 1987. "Some recent developments in the theory of competition in markets with adverse selection ," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 31(1-2), pages 319-325.
    17. Canice Prendergast, 2002. "The Tenuous Trade-off between Risk and Incentives," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 110(5), pages 1071-1102, October.
    18. Murphy, Kevin J., 1999. "Executive compensation," Handbook of Labor Economics,in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 38, pages 2485-2563 Elsevier.
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    Cited by:

    1. 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.
    2. Michael Magill & Martine Quinzii, 2006. "Common Shocks and Relative Compensation," Annals of Finance, Springer, vol. 2(4), pages 407-420, October.
    3. Marcello D'Amato & Riccardo Martina & Salvatore Piccolo, 2005. "Competitive Pressure, Incentives and Managerial Rewards," CSEF Working Papers 148, Centre for Studies in Economics and Finance (CSEF), University of Naples, Italy, revised 01 Jul 2006.

    More about this item


    Executive compensation; relative performance evaluation;

    JEL classification:

    • D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design
    • G30 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - General
    • J33 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Compensation Packages; Payment Methods
    • M52 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Personnel Economics - - - Compensation and Compensation Methods and Their Effects

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