Shareholder democracy and its discontents: outrage, captured boards, and the veil of ignorance

Noe, Thomas (2011) Shareholder democracy and its discontents: outrage, captured boards, and the veil of ignorance. In: American Finance Association, 8 January, 2011, Denver, Colorado.

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I model the determination of management compensation through the strategic interaction among outside shareholders, managers, and corporate boards. The board sets both regular incentive compensation and discretionary special compensation unrelated to performance. We show that shareholder value maximising compensation plans may feature incentive compensation that is not monotone in performance and discretionary payments unrelated to performance. Manager oriented boards may transfer wealth to managers using compensation plans that feature a higher pay to performance relation and also exploit the discretionary compensation to enrich management. Full delegation of authority to the board, which insulates the board from shareholder outrage, may be optimal even if the likelihood of managerial control is high. However, in some cases, imposing charter restrictions on discretionary compensation is optimal. Shareholder democracy, by exposing board members to outrage
costs, creates additional sources of distortion as it both induces management-oriented boards to distort operating
policy to mask wealth transfers and shareholder-oriented boards to forego optimal compensation designs to avoid
shareholder suspicion.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Keywords: Governance; Shareholder activism; Executive compensation; finance
Subject(s): Finance
Date Deposited: 25 Mar 2012 19:45
Last Modified: 01 Mar 2017 12:01
Funders: N/A

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