Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics

Working Paper Series,
Research Institute of Industrial Economics

No 654: Do Entrenched Managers Pay Their Workers More?

helena Svaleryd ()
Additional contact information
helena Svaleryd: The Research Institute of Industrial Economics, Postal: P.O. Box 55665, SE-102 15 Stockholm, Sweden

Abstract: Based on a two-million-observation panel dataset that matches public firms with detailed data on their employees, we find that entrenched managers pay their workers more. For example, our estimates show that CEOs with more control rights (votes) than all other blockholders together, pay their workers about 6%, or $2,200 per year, higher wages. Since cash flow rights ownership by the CEO and better corporate governance are found to mitigate such behavior, we interpret the higher pay as evidence of agency problems between shareholders and managers affecting workers’ pay. The findings do not appear to be driven by endogeneity of managerial ownership and are robust to a series of robustness checks. These results are consistent with an agency model in which entrenched managers pay high wages because they come with private benefits, such as lower-effort wage bargaining and better CEO-employee relations, and suggest more broadly an important link between the corporate governance of large public firms and labor market outcomes.

Keywords: Corporate Governance; Agency Problems; Private Benefits; Matched Employer-Employee Data; Wages

JEL-codes: G32; G34; J31; J33

52 pages, November 28, 2005

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