| HBS Working Paper Series
Pay Harmony: Peer Comparison and Executive Compensation
This study suggests that peer comparison affects both wage setting and productivity within firms. We report three changes in division manager compensation following a 1991-1992 controversy over executive pay. We argue that this controversy increased wage comparisons within firms, particularly those with geographically-dispersed managers – managers with the greatest information frictions. Following the controversy, pay in dispersed firms co-moves more and is less sensitive to individual performance. Relatedly, pay disparity between managers located in different states decreases relative to that of co-located managers. Finally, division productivity falls in dispersed firms, particularly among managers at the low end of the wage distribution.
Keywords: Executive Compensation;
internal labor markets;