CEO Compensation and Real Estate Prices: Pay for Luck or Pay for Action?
Review of Accounting Studies, Forthcoming
51 Pages Posted: 8 Aug 2018 Last revised: 10 Jan 2022
Date Written: January 4, 2022
This paper uses variation in real estate prices to study CEO pay for luck. We distinguish between pay for luck and pay for responding to luck (action) by exploiting US GAAP accounting rules, which mandate that real estate used in the firm's operations is not marked-to-market. This setting allows us to empirically disentangle pay for luck from pay for action, as a change in the value of real estate is only accounted for when the CEO responds to changes in property value. We show that CEO compensation is associated with the following two managerial responses to changes in real estate values: (i) real estate sales and (ii) debt issuance. Overall, we show that CEOs are rewarded for taking value enhancing actions in response to luck.
Keywords: pay for luck; real estate prices; executive compensation; accounting returns
JEL Classification: D81, G30, J33
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation