We analyze several proposals to restrict CEO compensation and calibrate two models of executive compensation that describe how firms would react to different types of restrictions. We find that many restrictions would have unintended consequences. Restrictions on total realized (ex-post) payouts lead to higher average compensation, higher rewards for mediocre performance, lower risk-taking incentives, and the fact that some CEOs would be better off with a restriction than without it. Restrictions on total ex-ante pay lead to a reduction in the firm's demand for CEO talent and effort. Restrictions on particular pay components, and especially on cash payouts, can be easily circumvented. While restrictions on option pay lead to lower risk-taking incentives, restrictions on incentive pay (stock and options) result in higher risk-taking incentives.

Additional Metadata
Keywords Caps on pay, Executive compensation, Loss aversion
Persistent URL dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jcorpfin.2011.04.007, hdl.handle.net/1765/23950
Series ERIM Article Series (EAS)
Journal Journal of Corporate Finance
Note Article in Press, Corrected Proof
Dittmann, I, Maug, E.G, & Zhang, D. (2011). Restricting CEO pay. Journal of Corporate Finance, 17(4), 1200–1220. doi:10.1016/j.jcorpfin.2011.04.007