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Public opinion and executive compensation

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  • Kuhnen, Camelia M.
  • Niessen, Alexandra

Abstract

We inquire whether public opinion influences executive compensation. During 1992-2008 the negativity of press coverage of CEO pay varied significantly, with stock options being the most discussed pay component. We find that after more negative press coverage of CEO pay firms reduce option grants and increase other compensation including stock awards, overall reducing pay-to-performance sensitivity. The reduction in option pay after increased press negativity is more pronounced when firms and CEOs have stronger reputation concerns. Our within-firm, within-year identification shows the results cannot be explained by annual changes in accounting rules regarding executive compensation, stock market conditions, or pay mean-reversion.

Suggested Citation

  • Kuhnen, Camelia M. & Niessen, Alexandra, 2010. "Public opinion and executive compensation," CFR Working Papers 08-09 [rev.], University of Cologne, Centre for Financial Research (CFR).
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:cfrwps:0809r
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Blau, Benjamin M. & DeLisle, Jared R. & Price, S. McKay, 2015. "Do sophisticated investors interpret earnings conference call tone differently than investors at large? Evidence from short sales," Journal of Corporate Finance, Elsevier, vol. 31(C), pages 203-219.
    2. Ruiz-Verdú, Pablo & Singh, Ravi, 2014. "Board Independence, CEO Pay, and Camouflaged Compensation," DEE - Working Papers. Business Economics. WB wb140704, Universidad Carlos III de Madrid. Departamento de Economía de la Empresa.
    3. Mario Coccia & Igor Benati, 2017. "What is the relation between public manager compensation and government effectiveness? An explorative analysis with public management implications," quaderni IRCrES 201701, Research Institute on Sustainable Economic Growth - Moncalieri (TO) ITALY - former Institute for Economic Research on Firms and Growth - Moncalieri (TO) ITALY.
    4. Cheng, Yingmei & Liu, Baixiao & McConnell, John J. & Rosenblum, Aaron, 2017. "When is good news bad and vice versa? The Fortune rankings of America's most admired companies," Journal of Corporate Finance, Elsevier, vol. 43(C), pages 378-396.
    5. Jeffrey Cohen & Yuan Ding & Cédric Lesage & Hervé Stolowy, 2017. "Media Bias and the Persistence of the Expectation Gap: An Analysis of Press Articles on Corporate Fraud," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, pages 637-659.
    6. Basu, Shankha & Savani, Krishna, 2017. "Choosing one at a time? Presenting options simultaneously helps people make more optimal decisions than presenting options sequentially," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 139(C), pages 76-91.
    7. Buehlmaier, Matthias M. M. & Zechner, Josef, 2016. "Financial media, price discovery, and merger arbitrage," CFS Working Paper Series 551, Center for Financial Studies (CFS).
    8. Kale, Jayant R. & Reis, Ebru & Venkateswaran, Anand, 2014. "Pay inequalities and managerial turnover," Journal of Empirical Finance, Elsevier, vol. 27(C), pages 21-39.
    9. Focke, Florens & Maug, Ernst & Niessen-Ruenzi, Alexandra, 2017. "The impact of firm prestige on executive compensation," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 123(2), pages 313-336.
    10. Braggion, Fabio & Giannetti, Mariassunta, 2013. "Public Debate and Stock Prices: Evidence from the Voting Premium," CEPR Discussion Papers 9619, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    11. Zalewska, Anna, 2014. "Gentlemen do not talk about money: Remuneration dispersion and firm performance relationship on British boards," Journal of Empirical Finance, Elsevier, vol. 27(C), pages 40-57.
    12. Chen, Tao & Harford, Jarrad & Lin, Chen, 2015. "Do analysts matter for governance? Evidence from natural experiments," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 115(2), pages 383-410.
    13. repec:eee:jebusi:v:67:y:2013:i:c:p:67-76 is not listed on IDEAS
    14. Mohamed Khenissi & Peter Wirtz, 2013. "Processus Decisionnel En Matiere De Remuneration Des Dirigeants : Le Cas Vinci," Working Papers halshs-00850083, HAL.
    15. Bang Dang Nguyen, 2015. "Is More News Good News? Media Coverage of CEOs, Firm Value, and Rent Extraction," Quarterly Journal of Finance (QJF), World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd., vol. 5(04), pages 1-38, December.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    executive compensation; public opinion; social norms; media coverage;

    JEL classification:

    • G34 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Mergers; Acquisitions; Restructuring; Corporate Governance
    • M52 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Personnel Economics - - - Compensation and Compensation Methods and Their Effects
    • J33 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Compensation Packages; Payment Methods

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