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The effects of Board Structure on Executive Compensation
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Compensation decisions are generally made by the board of directors in publicly listed firms. Thus, the board characteristics play an important role in linking executive pay to firm performance, and as well aligning the interests of managers with shareholders. However, despite the fact that the firm''s earnings shrank during the global financial crisis, numerous top executives receive what many believe to be unreasonably high salaries and bonuses. As a result, firms have been under a lot of scrutiny for excessive executive compensation. This suggests that the boards fail to effectively monitor and evaluate the managers. To shed light on this issue, the purpose of this study is to examine the association between the board structure and the level of executive compensation by using a sample of listed companies in Taiwan from 2006 to 2008.
This study uses a fixed effect model to control for unobserved firm characteristic that might explain cross-sectional variation in executive compensation. In addition, this study also controls for standard economic determination of the level of executive compensation, e.g., proxies for the firm size, performance, firm complexity, growth opportunities, firm risk and executive's tenure. The results show that no positive association between the board size and executives compensation, partly because the boards of Taiwanese firms are very small and thus boards cannot exert influence on executive compensation. Additionally, board independence is shown to have no significant effects on executive compensation. That is, more independent directors are not associated with a reduction in executive compensation. This study finds that managers who also serve as the directors are positively associated with executive compensation. The evidence suggests that firms with entrenched managers reduce the effectiveness of directors' monitoring, which could lead to excessive executive compensation.
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