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Business Law, Public Responsibility, and Ethics Commons

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Social and Behavioral Sciences

Jordan Otten

Theory

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Theories On Executive Pay: A Literature Overview And Critical Assessment, Jordan Otten Jan 2007

Theories On Executive Pay: A Literature Overview And Critical Assessment, Jordan Otten

Jordan Otten

Executive pay is a major issue in the corporate governance debate. As well in practice as in theory debate still exists how executive pay levels and structures can be explained. This paper provides an overview of 16 theories that have been used in the literature to explain the phenomenon. The theories can be classified into three types of approaches; 1) the value approach; 2) the agency approach; and 3) the symbolic approach. A critical assessment of the theories shows that the dominant use in the literature of the perfect contracting approach of agency theory neglects: 1) the socially determined symbolic ...