ABSTRACT

We investigate whether boards of directors adjust compensation contracts to lengthen a CEO's decision horizon, and if the use of such contract adjustments depends on the levels of external (i.e., shareholder-based) and internal (i.e., board-based) CEO monitoring. Based on insights from the career-concerns literature, we identify short-horizon CEOs as those nearing retirement, at a firm with a current earnings decline or loss, and/or with an impending job change. We find that firms with a CEO identified as having a short-horizon place greater contract weight on forward-looking information. This horizon-lengthening contract adjustment is less pronounced when there is greater external monitoring (i.e., as proxied by a high level of shareholder rights), consistent with the intuition that increased shareholder rights mitigate CEO entrenchment, leading to less myopic decision making, independent of a contract adjustment. However, we also find that the horizon-lengthening contract adjustment is more pronounced when there is greater internal monitoring (i.e., as proxied by characteristics of the board), consistent with the intuition that increased employment risk from more intense internal monitoring itself creates a demand for increased incentive weights as a means of compensating the CEO for the increased risk.

Data Availability: Data used for this study are derived from publicly available databases and proxy statements.

JEL Classifications: M52; M41; J33.

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