Do CEO Pay Cuts Really Work?, Journal of Accounting and Public Policy
Boards sometimes cut a CEO’s pay following poor performance. This study examines whether such CEO paycuts really work. We identify 1,496 instances of large CEO paycuts during the period 1994–2013. We then create a propensity-score-matched control group of firms that did not cut their CEOs’ pay and employ a difference-in-differences approach to examine the consequences of paycuts. Our results show that, following a paycut, CEOs are likely to engage in earnings management in an attempt to accelerate improvement in the reported performance and to achieve a speedier restoration of their pay to pre-cut levels. Further, we find that improvement in long-term performance after a paycut occurs only for those firms with lower levels of earnings management after the paycut. Finally, we show that paycuts are more likely to lead to unintended value-destroying consequences in the absence of high institutional ownership or when the CEO is sufficiently entrenched, thereby impairing the effectiveness of internal monitoring by boards.
Gerald Lobo, Hariom Manchiraju, Swaminathan Sridharan
Lobo, Gerald, Hariom Manchiraju, and Swaminathan Sridharan. 2017. Do CEO Pay Cuts Really Work?. Journal of Accounting and Public Policy.