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ARE TOP EXECUTIVES PAID TOO MUCH? DETERMINANTS OF DIRECTORS’ PAY IN SWITZERLAND

Katja Rost, Margit Osterloh

DOI: 10.22495/cbv4i2art1

Abstract

Executive compensation has become a fashionable topic: Cross-nationally, the earnings of executives and non-executive directors have risen significantly in recent years. Academic literature offers two hypotheses for this trend, a “fat cat” and an “optimal-contract” explanation. Proponents of the “fat cat” explanation state that directors are paid too much due to their unjustified power. Proponents of the “optimal-contract” hypothesis state that competition in the managerial labour market establishes an optimal compensation contract. This study contrasts both hypotheses and presents evidence that the level of directors’ pay in Swiss corporations is to be explained by “optimal contracts” and by managerial power. We give evidence to which degree the two explanations are valid.

Keywords: executive compensation, corporate governance, “optimal-contracts”, “fat cat” explanation

How to cite this paper: Rost, K., & Osterloh, M. (2008). Are top executives paid too much? Determinants of directors’ pay in Switzerland. Corporate Board: role, duties and composition, 4(2), 7-23. doi:10.22495/cbv4i2art1

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