NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Pay, Performance, and Turnover of Bank CEOs

Jason R. Barro, Robert J. Barro

NBER Working Paper No. 3262
Issued in February 1990
NBER Program(s):   ME   LS

We studied the relation of CEO pay and turnover to performance and characteristics of companies in a new data set that covers large commercial banks over the period 1982-87. For newly hired CEOs, the elasticity of pay with respect to assets is about one-third. As experience increases, the correlation between compensation and assets diminishes for about four years and then rises back to its initial value. We interpret these findings along the lines of Rosen's matching model, allowing for adjustments of compensation and bank assets and for possible dismissal of the CEO. For continuing CEOs, the change in compensation depends on performance as measured by stock and accounting returns. The sensitivity of pay to performance diminishes with experience, and there is no indication that stock or accounting returns are filtered for aggregate returns. Logit regressions relate the probability of CEO departure to age and performance. The relevant measure of performance in this context is stock returns filtered for average returns of banks in the same year and geographical region.

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Published: Journal of Labor Economics, Vol. 8, no. 4 (October 1990): 448-481.

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