Executive Compensation and Firm Performance in Korea

29 Pages Posted: 12 Jan 2004

See all articles by Woochan Kim

Woochan Kim

Korea University Business School; European Corporate Governance Institute (ECGI); Asian Institute of Corporate Governance (AICG)

Takao Kato

Colgate University - Economics Department; IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Ju-Ho Lee

KDI School of Public Policy and Management

Date Written: February 2004


This paper provides the first rigorous econometric estimates on the pay-performance relations for executives of Korean firms with and without Chaebol affiliation. To do so, we have assembled for the first time a pooled cross-sectional time-series dataset on 251 firms that were included in KOSPI200 for at least two consecutive years from 1998 to 2001. Contrary to a popular belief that Korean corporate governance and the structure of Korean executive compensation is considerably different from elsewhere in the West, we find that cash compensation of Korean executives is statistically significantly related to stock market performance and that the magnitude of the sensitivity of pay to stock market performance is comparable to the U.S. and Japan. Moreover, alternative performance measures (such as accounting performance and sales) is found to play a less important role in the determination of Korean executive compensation. Finally, we find evidence that non-Chaebol firms structure their executive compensation so as to reward their executives for improving shareholder value more so than Chaebol firms. The evidence is consistent with the recent literature on the nature of Chaebols in Korea and the current corporate governance reform efforts in Korea that are aimed mostly at Chaebol firms.

Keywords: executive compensation, corporate governance, and Korea

JEL Classification: M12, M52, J33, G30, O53

Suggested Citation

Kim, Woochan and Kato, Takao and Lee, Ju-Ho, Executive Compensation and Firm Performance in Korea (February 2004). KDI School of Pub Policy & Management Paper No. 04-01. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=480544 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.480544

Woochan Kim (Contact Author)

Korea University Business School ( email )

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European Corporate Governance Institute (ECGI) ( email )

B-1050 Brussels

Asian Institute of Corporate Governance (AICG) ( email )

1, 5-ga, Anam-dong
Seoul, 136-701
Korea, Republic of (South Korea)

Takao Kato

Colgate University - Economics Department ( email )

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Hamilton, NY 13346
United States
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315-228-7033 (Fax)

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072

Ju-Ho Lee

KDI School of Public Policy and Management ( email )

263 Namsejong-ro
Sejong-si 30149
Korea, Republic of (South Korea)
+82 2 3299 1016 (Phone)

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