Faculty & Research

Marianne Bertrand

Chris P. Dialynas Distinguished Service Professor of Economics

Phone :
1-773-834-5943
Address :
5807 South Woodlawn Avenue
Chicago, IL 60637

Marianne Bertrand is the Chris P. Dialynas Distinguished Service Professor of Economics at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. She is a Research Fellow at the National Bureau of Economic Research, the Center for Economic Policy Research, and the Institute for the Study of Labor.

Professor Bertrand is an applied micro-economist whose research covers the fields of labor economics, corporate finance, and development economics. Her research in these areas has been published widely, including numerous research articles in the Quarterly Journal of Economics, the Journal of Political Economy, the American Economic Review, and the Journal of Finance.

Professor Bertrand is a Co-Director of Chicago Booth’s Social Enterprise Initiative. She is also a member of the Faculty Advisory Board for the University of Chicago’s Collegium for Culture and Society, as well as of the Board of Directors for the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab. Professor Bertrand also serves as co-editor of the American Economic Review.

She has received several awards and honors, including the 2004 Elaine Bennett Research Prize, awarded by the American Economic Association to recognize and honor outstanding research in any field of economics by a woman at the beginning of her career, and the 2012 Society of Labor Economists’ Rosen Prize for Outstanding Contributions to Labor Economics. She is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Born in Belgium, Professor Bertrand received a Bachelor's Degree in economics from Belgium's Universite Libre de Bruxelles in 1991, followed by a Master's Degree in econometrics from the same institution the next year. She moved to the United States in 1993 and earned a Ph.D. in economics from Harvard University in 1998. She was a faculty member in the Department of Economics at Princeton University for two years before joining Chicago Booth in 2000.

 

2014 - 2015 Course Schedule

Number Name Quarter
33305 The Firm and the Non-Market Environment 2015 (Spring)
33610 Applied Economics Workshop 2014 (Fall)

Research Activities

Labor economics; corporate and household finance; development economics.

With A. Morse, “Information Disclosure, Cognitive Biases and Payday Borrowing,” The Journal of Finance (forthcoming).

With D. Karlan, S. Mullainathan, E. Shafir and J. Zinman, "What’s Advertising Content Worth? Evidence from a Consumer Credit Marketing Field Experiment,”Quarterly Journal of Economics (2010).

With R. Hanna, S. Djankov and S. Mullainathan, "Obtaining a Driving License in India: An Experimental Approach to Studying Corruption," Quarterly Journal of Economics (2007).

With D. Thesmar and A. Schoar, "Banking Deregulation and Industry Structure: Evidence from the French Banking Reforms of 1985," The Journal of Finance (2007).

With S. Mullainathan, "Are Emily and Brendan More Employable than Lakisha and Jamal?," The American Economic Review (2004).

For a listing of research publications please visit ’s university library listing page.

REVISION: Do Judges Vary in Their Treatment of Race?
Date Posted: Sep  28, 2013
Are minorities treated differently by the legal system? Systematic racial differences in case characteristics, many unobservable, make this a difficult question to answer directly. In this paper, we estimate whether judges differ from each other in how they sentence minorities, avoiding potential bias from unobservable case characteristics by exploiting the random assignment of cases to judges. We measure the between-judge variation in the difference in incarceration rates and sentence lengths between African-American and White defendants. We perform a Monte Carlo simulation in order to explicitly construct the appropriate counterfactual, where race does not influence judicial sentencing. In our data set, which includes felony cases from Cook County, Illinois, we find statistically significant between-judge variation in incarceration rates, although not in sentence lengths.

REVISION: Gender Identity and Relative Income within Households
Date Posted: Apr  16, 2013
We examine causes and consequences of relative income within households. We establish that gender identity – in particular, an aversion to the wife earning more than the husband – impacts marriage formation, the wife’s labor force participation, the wife’s income conditional on working, satisfaction with the marriage, divorce, and the division of home production. The distribution of the share of household income earned by the wife exhibits a sharp cliff at 0.5, which suggests that a co

New: Trickle-Down Consumption
Date Posted: Mar  23, 2013
Have rising income and consumption at the top of income distribution since the early 1980s induced households in the lower tiers of the distribution to consume a larger share of their income? Using state-year variation in income level and consumption in the top first quintile or decile of the income distribution, we find evidence for such “trickle-down consumption.” The magnitude of effect suggests that middle income households would have saved between 2.6 and 3.2 percent more by the mid-200

New: CEOS
Date Posted: Aug  31, 2011
This article starts with an overview of the characteristics of chief executive officers (CEOs). I discuss the rising importance of general skills over firm-specific skills and the growing share of externally recruited CEOs. I also discuss possible reasons for the underrepresentation of women and the overrepresentation of family members in the corporate suite. I then review the three main explanations that have been put forward to explain the surge in CEO compensation over the past 30 years: prin

REVISION: Is it Whom You Know or What You Know? An Empirical Assessment of the Lobbying Process
Date Posted: Mar  22, 2011
What do lobbyists do? Some believe that lobbyists’ main role is to provide issue-specific information and expertise to congressmen to help guide the law-making process. Others believe that lobbyists mainly provide the firms and other special interests they represent with access to politicians in their “circle of influence” and that this access is the be-all and end-all of how lobbyists affect the lawmaking process. This paper combines a descriptive analysis with more targeted testing to get insi

REVISION: Information Disclosure, Cognitive Biases and Payday Borrowing
Date Posted: Jan  14, 2010
If people face cognitive limitations or biases that lead to financial mistakes, what are possible ways lawmakers can help? One approach is to remove the option of the bad decision; another approach is to increase financial education such that individuals can reason through choices when they arise. A third, less discussed, approach is to mandate disclosure of information in a form that enables people to overcome limitations or biases at the point of the decision. This third approach is the topic

New: Information Disclosure, Cognitive Biases and Payday Borrowing
Date Posted: Jan  07, 2010
If people face cognitive limitations or biases that lead to financial mistakes, what are possible ways lawmakers can help? One approach is to remove the option of the bad decision; another approach is to increase financial education such that individuals can reason through choices when they arise. A third, less discussed, approach is to mandate disclosure of information in a form that enables people to overcome limitations or biases at the point of the decision. This third approach is the topic

New: Dynamics of the Gender Gap for Young Professionals in the Corporate and Financial Sectors
Date Posted: Sep  25, 2009
This paper assesses the relative importance of various explanations for the gender gap in career outcomes for highly-educated workers in the U.S. corporate and financial sectors. The careers of MBAs, who graduated between 1990 and 2006 from a top U.S. business school, are studied to understand how career dynamics differ by gender. Although male and female MBAs have nearly identical (labor) incomes at the outset of their careers, their earnings soon diverge, with the male annual earnings advantag

New: What Do High-Interest Borrowers Do with Their Tax Rebate?
Date Posted: Feb  19, 2009
Building on prior literature that constrained individuals consume the most out of a tax rebate, we study the tradeoffs high interest borrowers face when they received their 2008 tax stimulus checks. We find a persistent decline in payday borrowing in the pay cycles that follow the receipt of the tax rebate. The reduction in borrowing is a significant fraction of the mean outstanding loan (12%) and appears fairly persistent over the time, but is moderate in dollar magnitude (about $35) relative t

Banking Deregulation and Industry Structure: Evidence from the French Banking Reforms of 1985
Date Posted: Feb  19, 2009
This Paper empirically investigates the impact of distortions in the banking sector on the structure and dynamics of product markets, as well as on firm level outcomes. Our analysis suggests that an increase in the efficiency of the banking industry can have first-order effects not only on the lending relationship between banks and firms, but also on the structure and dynamics of product markets overall. The particular reform we consider is the deregulation of the French banking industry in the

New: Mixing Family with Business: A Study of Thai Business Groups and the Families Behind Them
Date Posted: Feb  19, 2009
Families run a large fraction of business groups around the world. In this paper, we analyze how the structure of the families behind these business groups affects the groups' organization, governance and performance. To address this question, we constructed a unique data set of family trees and business groups for nearly 100 of the largest business families in Thailand. We find a strong positive association between family size and family involvement in the ownership and control of the family bu

Managing With Style: The Effect of Managers on Firm Policies
Date Posted: Feb  19, 2009
This paper investigates whether and how individual managers affect corporate behavior and performance. We construct a manager-firm matched panel data set which enables us to track the top managers across different firms over time. We find that manager fixed effects matter for a wide range of corporate decisions. A significant extent of the heterogeneity in investment, financial and organizational practices of firms can be explained by the presence of manager fixed effects. We identify specific p

New: What's Advertising Content Worth? Evidence from a Consumer Credit Marketing Field Experiment
Date Posted: Jan  24, 2009
Firms spend billions of dollars each year advertising consumer products in order to influence demand. Much of these outlays are on the creative design of advertising content. Creative content often uses nuances of presentation and framing that have large effects on consumer decision making in laboratory studies. But there is little field evidence on the effect of advertising content as it compares in magnitude to the effect of price. We analyze a direct mail field experiment in South Africa impl

New: Conditional Cash Transfers in Education: Design Features, Peer and Sibling Effects Evidence from a R...
Date Posted: Nov  13, 2008
This paper presents an evaluation of multiple variants of a commonly used intervention to boost education in developing countries - the conditional cash transfer - with a student level randomization that allows the authors to generate intra-family and peer-network variation. The analysis tests three treatments: a basic conditional cash transfer treatment based on school attendance, a savings treatment that postpones a bulk of the cash transfer due to good attendance to just before children have

Are Emily and Greg More Employable than Lakisha and Jamal? A Field Experiment on Labor Market Discri...
Date Posted: Nov  06, 2008
We perform a field experiment to measure racial discrimination in the labor market. We respond with fictitious resumes to help-wanted ads in Boston and Chicago newspapers. To manipulate perception of race, each resume is randomly assigned either a very African American sounding name or a very White sounding name. The results show significant discrimination against African-American names: White names receive 50 percent more callbacks for interviews. We also find that race affects the benefits of

Ferreting Out Tunneling: An Application to Indian Business Groups
Date Posted: Oct  17, 2008
In many countries, controlling shareholders are accused of tunneling, transferring resources from companies where they have few cash flow rights to ones where they have more cash flow rights. Quantifying the extent of such tunneling, however, has proven difficult because of its illicit nature. This paper develops a general empirical technique for quantifying tunneling. We use the responses of different firms to performance shocks to map out the flow of resources within a group of firms and to

New: Conditional Cash Transfers in Education: Design Features, Peer and Sibling Effects - Evidence from a...
Date Posted: Apr  29, 2008
We evaluate multiple variants of a commonly used intervention to boost education in developing countries - the conditional cash transfer (CCT) - with a student level randomization that allows us to generate intra-family and peer-network variation. We test three treatments: a basic CCT treatment based on school attendance, a savings treatment that postpones a bulk of the cash transfer due to good attendance to just before children have to reenroll, and a tertiary treatment where some of the trans

New: Affirmative Action in Education: Evidence from Engineering College Admissions in India
Date Posted: Apr  29, 2008
Many countries mandate affirmative action in university admissions for traditionally disadvantaged groups. Little is known about either the efficacy or costs of these programs. This paper examines affirmative action in engineering colleges in India for lower-caste groups. We find that it successfully targets the financially disadvantaged: the marginal upper-caste applicant comes from a more advantaged background than the marginal lower-caste applicant who displaces him. Despite much lower entran

New: Does Corruption Produce Unsafe Drivers?
Date Posted: Jun  08, 2006
We follow 822 applicants through the process of obtaining a driver's license in New Delhi, India. To understand how the bureaucracy responds to individual and social needs, participants were randomly assigned to one of three groups: bonus, lesson, and comparison groups. Participants in the bonus group were offered a financial reward if they could obtain their license fast; participants in the lesson group were offered free driving lessons. To gauge driving skills, we performed a surprise driving

Do CEOs Set Their Own Pay? The Ones Without Principals Do
Date Posted: May  25, 2006
We empirically examine two competing views of CEO pay. In the contracting view, pay is used to solve an agency problem: the compensation committee optimally chooses pay contracts which give the CEO incentives to maximize shareholder wealth. In the skimming view, pay is the result of an agency problem: CEOs have managed to capture the pay process so that they set their own pay, constrained somewhat by the availability of cash or by a fear of drawing shareholders` attention. To distinguish thes

New: Does Corruption Produce Unsafe Drivers?
Date Posted: May  16, 2006
We follow 822 applicants through the process of obtaining a driver's license in New Delhi, India. To understand how the bureaucracy responds to individual and social needs, participants were randomly assigned to one of three groups: bonus, lesson, and comparison groups. Participants in the bonus group were offered a financial reward if they could obtain their license fast; participants in the lesson group were offered free driving lessons. To gauge driving skills, we performed a surprise driving

What's Psychology Worth? A Field Experiment in the Consumer Credit Market
Date Posted: Jan  19, 2006
Numerous laboratory studies find that minor nuances of presentation and description change behavior in ways that are inconsistent with standard economic models. How much do these context effect matter in natural settings, when consumers make large, real decisions and have the opportunity to learn from experience? We report on a field experiment designed to address this question. A South African lender sent letters offering incumbent clients large, short-term loans at randomly chosen interest rat

What's Psychology Worth? A Field Experiment in the Consumer Credit Market
Date Posted: Jul  28, 2005
Numerous laboratory studies report on behaviors inconsistent with rational economic models. How much do these inconsistencies matter in natural settings, when consumers make large, real decisions and have the opportunity to learn from experiences? We report on a field experiment designed to address this question. Incumbent clients of a lender in South Africa were sent letters offering them large, short-term loans at randomly chosen interest rates. Psychological features on the letter, which did

Mixing Family with Business: A Study of Thai Business Groups and the Families behind Them
Date Posted: Mar  21, 2005
A large fraction of business groups around the world are run by families. In this paper, we analyze how the structure of the families behind these business groups affects the groups' organization, governance and performance. To address this question, we constructed a unique data set of the family trees and the business groups they run for 70 of the largest business families in Thailand. We show that the group head and his brothers hold the majority of family positions within each group. However,

Profitable Investments or Dissipated Cash? Evidence on the Investment-Cash Flow Relationship From Oi...
Date Posted: Mar  10, 2005
The strong positive relationship between corporate cash flow and investment has been interpreted through the lens of both agency- and non-agency-based models. In this paper, we distinguish between these two interpretations using project-level data in the oil and gas industry. The specific projects we consider are auctioned-off leases that give mineral exploration rights to tracts of federal land. We find the standard positive relationship between investment and cash flow in this data, in that po

Profitable Investments or Dissipated Cash?: Evidence on the Investment-Cash Flow Relationship From O
Date Posted: Feb  22, 2005
Both agency- and non-agency-based interpretations have been proposed to explain the strong positive empirical relationship between corporate cash flow and corporate investment. In this paper, we attempt to distinguish between these different interpretations using project-level data in the oil and gas industry. The specific projects we consider are mineral exploration leases on tracts of land. The standard positive relationship between investment and cash flow holds for these projects, in that we

Does Entry Regulation Hinder Job Creation? Evidence from the French Retail Industry
Date Posted: Oct  24, 2004
Are product market and entry regulation key sources of low employment growth in many European countries? We investigate this question in the context of the French retail trade industry. Since 1974, approval by regional zoning boards has been required for the creation or extension of any large retail store in France. We exploit a unique database that provides time and region specific variation in boards' approval decisions. We show that stronger deterrence of entry by the boards, and the increase

Pyramids
Date Posted: Nov  26, 2003
Most corporate finance models of firm behavior study the typical US corporation: one firm with a large set of dispersed shareholders. In contrast, in many countries around the world, firms are often held in groups with complicated ownership structures. These groups, often referred to as pyramids, raise very distinct questions about firm behavior; these questions that are especially relevant for developing countries where these groups are most prevalent. In this paper, we first describe some emp

How Much Should We Trust Differences-in-Differences Estimates?
Date Posted: Nov  26, 2003
Most Difference-in-Difference (DD) papers rely on many years of data and focus on serially correlated outcomes. Yet almost all these papers ignore the bias in the estimated standard errors that serial correlation introduces. This is especially troubling because the independent variable of interest in DD estimation (e.g., the passage of law) is itself very serially correlated, which will exacerbate the bias in standard errors. To illustrate the severity of this issue, we randomly generate place

Public Policy and Extended Families: Evidence from South Africa
Date Posted: Nov  26, 2003
How are resources allocated within extended families in developing countries? To investigate this question, we use a unique social experiment: the South African pension program. Under that program, the elderly receive a cash transfer that represents roughly twice the per capita African income. We ask how this transfer affects the labor supply of working-age individuals living with these elderly. We find a sharp drop in the working hours of the prime-age individuals in these households when

Do People Mean What They Say? Implications For Subjective Survey Data
Date Posted: Nov  26, 2003
Many surveys contain a wealth of subjective questions that are at first glance rather exciting. Examples include "How important is leisure time to you?" "How satisfied are you with yourself?"; or "How satisfied are you with your work?" Yet despite easy availability, this is one data source that economists rarely use. In fact, the unwillingness to rely on such questions marks an important divide between economists and other social scientists. This neglect does not come from disinterest. Most e

Agents With and Without Principals
Date Posted: Nov  26, 2003
Who sets CEO pay? Our standard answer to this question has been shaped by principal agent theory: shareholders set CEO pay. They use pay to limit the moral hazard problem caused by the low ownership stakes of CEOs. Through bonuses, options, or long term contracts, shareholders can motivate the CEO to maximize firm wealth. In other words, shareholders use pay to provide incentives, a view we refer to as the contracting view. An alternative view, championed by practitioners such as Crystal

Do CEOS Set Their Own Pay? The Ones Without Principals Do
Date Posted: Nov  26, 2003
We empirically examine two competing views of CEO pay. In the contracting view, pay is used to solve an agency problem: the compensation committee optimally chooses pay contracts that give the CEO incentives to maximize shareholder wealth. In the skimming view, pay is the result of an agency problem: CEOs have managed to capture the pay process so that they set their own pay, constrained somewhat by the availability of cash or by a fear of drawing shareholders' attention. To distinguish these

Network Effects and Welfare Cultures
Date Posted: Nov  26, 2003
This paper empirically examines the role of social networks in welfare participation. Social theorists from across the political spectrum have argued that network effects have given rise to a culture of poverty. Empirical work, however, has found it difficult to distinguish the effect of networks from unobservable characteristics of individuals and areas. We use data on language spoken to better infer an individual?s network within an area. Individuals who are surrounded by others speaking their

Executive Compensation and Incentives: The Impact of Takeover Legislation
Date Posted: Nov  26, 2003
We investigate the impact of changes in states' anti-takeover legislation on executive compensation. We find that both pay for performance sensitivities and mean pay increase for the firms affected by the legislation (relative to a control group). These findings are partially consistent with an optimal contracting allow CEOs to skim more. We compute lower bounds on the relative risk aversion coefficients implied by our findings. These lower bounds are relatively high, indicating that the increas

Is There Discretion in Wage Setting? A Test Using Takeover Legislation
Date Posted: Nov  26, 2003
Anecdotal evidence suggests that uncontrolled managers let wages rise above competitive levels. Testing this popular perception has proven difficult; however, because independent variation in the extent of managerial discretion is needed. In this paper, we use states? passage of anti-takeover legislation as a source of such independent variation. Passed in the 1980s, these laws seriously limited takeovers of firms incorporated in legislating states. Since many view hostile takeovers as an im

Enjoying the Quiet Life? Corporate Governance and Managerial Preferences
Date Posted: Oct  07, 2003
Much of our understanding of corporations builds on the idea that managers, when they are not closely monitored, will pursue goals that are not in shareholders' interests. But what goals would managers pursue? This paper uses variation in corporate governance generated by state adoption of antitakeover laws to empirically map out managerial preferences. We use plant-level data and exploit a unique feature of corporate law that allows us to deal with possible biases associated with the timing of

Are Emily and Greg More Employable than Lakisha and Jamal? A Field Experiment on Labor Market Discri...
Date Posted: Jul  29, 2003
We perform a field experiment to measure racial discrimination in the labor market. We respond with fictitious resumes to help-wanted ads in Boston and Chicago newspapers. To manipulate perception of race, each resume is assigned either a very African American sounding name or a very White sounding name. The results show significant discrimination against African-American names: White names receive 50 percent more callbacks for interviews. We also find that race affects the benefits of a better

How Much Should We Trust Differences-in-Differences Estimates?
Date Posted: Mar  23, 2002
Most Difference-in-Difference (DD) papers rely on many years of data and focus on serially correlated outcomes. Yet almost all these papers ignore the bias in the estimated standard errors that serial correlation introduces. This is especially troubling because the independent variable of interest in DD estimation (e.g., the passage of law) is itself very serially correlated, which will exacerbate the bias in standard errors. To illustrate the severity of this issue, we randomly generate placebo

Does Entry Regulation Hinder Job Creation? Evidence from the French Retail Industry
Date Posted: Nov  25, 2001
Are product market and entry regulation key sources of low employment growth in many European countries? We investigate this question in the context of the French retail industry. Since 1974, approval by regional zoning boards has been required for the creation or extension of any large retail store in France. We exploit a unique database that provides time and region specific variation in boards' approval decisions. We show that stronger deterrence of entry by the boards, and the increase in la

Ferreting Out Tunneling: An Application to Indian Business Groups
Date Posted: Sep  14, 2001
In many countries, controlling shareholders are accused of tunneling, transferring resources from companies where they have few cash flow rights to ones where they have more cash flow rights. Quantifying the extent of such tunneling, however, has proven difficult because of its illicit nature. This paper develops a general empirical technique for quantifying tunneling. We use the responses of different firms to performance shocks to map out the flow of resources within a group of firms and to q

The Gender Gap in Top Corporate Jobs
Date Posted: Sep  14, 2001
This paper studies the gender compensation gap among high-level executives in US corporations. We use the ExecuComp data set that contains information on total compensation for the top five highest paid executives of a large group of US firms over the period 1992-1997. About 2.5% of the executives in the sample are women. These women earn about 45% less than their male counterparts. As much as 75% of this gap can be accounted for by the fact that women manage smaller companies and are less l

Public Policy and Extended Families: Evidence from South Africa
Date Posted: Apr  01, 2001
Tightly knit extended families, in which people often give money to and get money from relatives, characterize many developing countries. These intra-family flows mean that public policies may affect a very different group of people than the one they target. To assess the empirical importance of these effects, we study a cash pension program in South Africa that targets the elderly. Focusing on three-generation households , we use the variation in pension receipt that comes from differences i

Does Managed Care Change the Mission of Nonprofit Hospitals? Evidence From the Managerial Labor Mark...
Date Posted: Apr  01, 2001
This paper examines how the managerial labor market in nonprofit hospitals has adjusted to the negative income pressures created by HMO penetration. Using a panel of about 1500 nonprofit hospitals over the period 1992 to 1996, we find that top executive turnover increases following an increase in HMO penetration. Moreover, the increase in turnover is concentrated among the hospitals that have low levels of economic profitability and are more financially leveraged. While the link between top exec

Does Entry Regulation Hinder Job Creation? Evidence from the French Retail Industry
Date Posted: Mar  31, 2001
Does entry regulation hinder job creation? We investigate this question in the context of the French retail industry, a sector that has experienced especially low rates of job creation over the last 25 years. Since the early 70s, the French government has required regional zoning board approval for the creation or extension of any large retail store. Using a unique database that provides time and regional variation in boards' approval decisions, we show that this requirement created barriers

Agents With and Without Principals
Date Posted: Sep  11, 2000
Who sets CEO pay? Our standard answer to this question has been shaped by principal agent theory: shareholders set CEO pay. They use pay to limit the moral hazard problem caused by the low ownership stakes of CEOs. Through bonuses, options, or long term contracts, shareholders can motivate the CEO to maximize firm wealth. In other words, shareholders use pay to provide incentives, a view we refer to as the contracting view. An alternative view, championed by practitioners such as Crystal (1

Network Effects and Welfare Cultures
Date Posted: Jul  20, 2000
This paper empirically examines the role of social networks in welfare participation. Social theorists from across the political spectrum have argued that network effects have given rise to a culture of poverty. Empirical work, however, has found it difficult to distinguish the effect of networks from unobservable characteristics of individuals and areas. We use data on language spoken to better infer an individual's network within an area. Individuals who are surrounded by others speaking t

From the Invisible Handshake to the Invisible Hand? How Import Competition Changes the Employment Re...
Date Posted: May  13, 2000
There is a popular perception that increased competitive pressures in U.S. product markets are turning the employment relationship from one governed by implicit agreements into one governed by the market. In this paper, I examine whether changes in import competition indeed affect the use of implicit agreements between employers and workers in a key aspect of their relationship, wage setting. I focus on the extent to which employers, after negotiating workers' wages upon hire, subsequently shi

Executive Compensation and Incentives: The Impact of Takeover Legislation
Date Posted: May  07, 2000
We investigate the impact of changes in states' anti-takeover legislation on executive compensation. We find both pay for performance sensitivities and mean pay increase for the firms affected by the legislation (relative to a control group). These findings are partially consistent with an optimal contracting model of CEO pay as well as with a skimming model in which reduced takeover fears allow CEO's to skim more. We compute lower bounds on the relative risk aversion coefficients implied by

Is There a Discretion in Wage Setting? A Test Using Takeover Legislation
Date Posted: Oct  26, 1999
Anecdotal evidence suggests that uncontrolled managers let wages rise above competitive levels. To test this belief, we examine the wage impact of antitakeover legislation passed throughout the 1980s in many states. Since many view hostile takeovers as an important disciplining device, these laws, by reducing takeover threats, potentially raised managerial discretion. If uncontrolled managers pay higher wages, we expect wages to rise following these laws. Using firm-level data, we find that thes