Schneider, Thomas Ian. “Essays on Executive Compensation”, PhD, Boston College, 2018. http://hdl.handle.net/2345/bc-ir:108099.
Chapter 1: Executive Compensation and Aspirational Peer Benchmarking Abstract: Using a comprehensive, hand-collected dataset of explicit peer group relationships, I document that small firms engage in upward compensation benchmarking to a much greater degree than large firms do. In contrast to the prior literature studying larger firms, small firms choose aspirational peers that reflect their executives' shifting opportunity sets. For these firms, compensation benchmarking is indicative of future growth and performance, and the rate at which pay adjusts toward peer levels is sensitive to the transferability of managers' human capital. Overall, the data suggest that growing and outperforming small firms strategically use upward benchmarking to adjust pay in an effort to retain managerial talent. Chapter 2: Common Ownership and Relative Performance Evaluation Abstract: Recent research suggests that large institutional shareholders that simultaneously hold positions in naturally competing firms may influence managers to collude and reduce product market competition. This paper finds that common owners do not alter executive incentive schemes in a way that is conducive to collusion. I find that common ownership is positively related to the use of explicit relative performance evaluation (RPE), which rewards executives for outperforming their peers. Additionally, commonly held firms are more likely to benchmark RPE awards against commonly held peers. My results suggest that the managers of commonly held firms lack the financial incentives to collude with product market rivals.