This paper examines the effects of say on pay (SoP) laws on CEO compensation, the portion of top management pay captured by CEOs, and firm valuation. Using a large cross-country sample of about 103,000 firm-year observations from 39 countries, we document that compared to our control group of firms, SoP laws are associated with 1) a lower level of CEO compensation, which partly results from lower CEO compensation growth rates and is related to CEO power, 2) a higher pay for performance sensitivity suggesting that SoP laws have the greatest effects on firms with poor performance, 3) a lower portion of total top management pay awarded to CEOs indicating lower pay inequality among top managers and 4) a higher firm value, which is related to whether the CEO’s share of total top management pay was relatively high before the laws are passed. Further, while both mandatory and advisory SoP laws are associated with lower CEO pay levels, only advisory SoP laws tighten the sensitivity of executive pay to firm performance. Collectively, our results document significant changes in executive compensation policies and firm valuation following the passage of SoP laws around the world.
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Last update: August 2, 2013