This paper examines the connection between layoffs, executive pay, and stock prices. Firms that announce layoffs in the previous year pay their CEOs more, and give their CEOs larger percentage raises than firms which do not have at least one layoff announcement in the previous year. However, the likelihood of announcing a layoff varies dramatically along with other dimensions, for example firm size, which are also correlated with CEO pay. Once firm-specific fixed effects are controlled for, the CEO pay premium for laying off workers disappears. In addition, there is a small negative share price reaction to layoff announcements.
Copyright © 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005 by the American Economic Association. Permission to make digital or hard copies of part or all of American Economic Association publications for personal or classroom use is granted without fee provided that copies are not distributed for profit or direct commercial advantage and that copies show this notice on the first page or initial screen of a display along with the full citation, including the name of the author. Copyrights for components of this work owned by others than AEA must be honored. Abstracting with credit is permitted. The author has the right to republish, post on servers, redistribute to lists and use any component of this work in other works. For others to do so requires prior specific permission and/or a fee. Permissions may be requested from the American Economic Association Business Office.
“Layoffs, Top Executive Pay, and Firm Performance,” The American Economic Review, 88(4), September 1998, 711-723.