This paper studies the effect of deregulation and increased product market competition on the compensation packages that firms offer to their executives. We use a panel of US executives in the nineties and exploit the deregulation episodes in the banking and financial sectors as quasi-natural experiments. We provide difference-in-differences estimates of their effect on (1) total pay, (2) estimated fixed pay and performance-pay sensitivities and (3) on the sensitivity of stock option grants. Our results indicate that the deregulations substantially changed the level and structure of compensation: the variable components of pay increased, performance-pay sensitivities grew and, at the same time, the fixed component of pay fell. The overall effect on total pay was small.
Financial Markets Group Discussion Papers DP 598