Compensation Consultants and CEO Pay: UK Evidence
49 Pages Posted: 2 Nov 2008 Last revised: 31 Mar 2010
Date Written: March 1, 2010
This paper provides new evidence on the effect of compensation consultants on CEO pay. We show that the use of a compensation consultant has an increasing effect on the level of total CEO compensation, which is consistent with the “ratcheting up” effect of consultants on CEO pay argued by the managerial power approach. However, we also find that this influence on pay levels mainly stems from an increase in equity based compensation. In contrast, we report a negative influence of consultants on basic (cash) pay.We also show that economic determinants, rather than CEO power, explain the decision to hire compensation consultants. The results are robust to several model specifications, different controls for firm and governance characteristics and tests for selection bias. Overall, we offer new evidence suggesting that pay consultants contribute to the solution of the executive pay determination problem and are not part of the problem; our results cast doubts on the conclusions of the managerial power approach regarding the role of compensation consultants.
Keywords: Corporate Governance, Compensation Consultants, Executive Compensation, Managerial Power Approach
JEL Classification: G34, M21, M41
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation