Does It Pay to "Be Like Mike"? Aspirational Peer Firms and Relative Performance Evaluation

Date
2017-08-18
Authors
Ball, Ryan
Bonham, Jonathan
Hemmer, Thomas
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Abstract
We examine the manner and extent to which firms evaluate performance relative to aspirational peer firms. Guided by the predictions of an agency model, we find that CEO compensation increases in the correlation between own and aspirational peer firm performances. In addition, we define and test conditions where aggregate peer performance, which has been the primary focus of prior relative performance evaluation studies of competitive peers, is expected to have an association with CEO compensation. These conditions are supported by our empirical results. Finally, we document that our results are more pronounced when the firm-peer relationship is one-way and the peer firm is in a different industry and therefore is more aspirational.
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Keywords
aspirational peer groups, relative performance evaluation, performance correlation
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