The Advantages of Using Earnings for Compensation: Matching Delivered Performance
31 Pages Posted: 8 Oct 2008
Date Written: June 2000
We show that the greater the extent to which a performance measure matches delivered performance, the simpler and more robust are the compensation plans based on it. In some settings stock price changes match delivered performance poorly because they anticipate it. This introduces three problems with price-based plans relative to an earnings-based plan. First, the price-based plans become complex because they require knowing the extent to which prices anticipate the future. Second, price-based plans are less robust to unforeseen events. Third, price-based plans require period-by-period changes in pay-for-performance relationship even when the underlying production function remains unchanged. Earnings-based plans are used in these settings if earnings better match delivered performance.
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