Jie (Jack) He, Associate Professor of Finance, University of Georgia: Workplace Inequality in Pay Growth: A First Look

Time: 2019-11-06 10:00 Print

Topic: Workplace Inequality in Pay Growth: A First Look

Speaker:Jie (Jack) He, Associate Professor of Finance, Terry College of Business, University of Georgia

Date: November 6, 2019 (Wednesday)

Time: 10:00am-11:30am

Location: 4-101, Building 4

Language: English 


While previous literature of within-firm pay inequality exclusively focuses on the difference in pay levels between executives and employees, we study the difference in pay growth between the two groups (i.e., “pay growth gap”), especially its relation with a firm’s past idiosyncratic stock return, the “skill” component of stock performance. Using granular, individual-level compensation data for US public companies, we find a negative relation between pay growth gap and past performance for firms with poor performance, suggesting that executives enjoy higher relative pay growth when firms perform worse. This “reverse incentive alignment” is absent in firms with good performance. Further, it is driven by the pay growth of executives, especially higher-ranked ones, rather than that of employees. Among poorly performing firms, turnover rates of executives relative to employees are also lower upon worse past performance. Our evidence is more consistent with managerial rent extraction than with other explanations such as differential talent or labor market conditions across the corporate hierarchy.

About the speaker:

Dr. Jie (Jack) He is an Associate Professor of Finance and the BB&T Scholar at the Terry College of Business at the University of Georgia. He obtained his Ph.D. degree in finance from Boston College in 2010. Dr. He specializes in corporate finance, financial intermediation, and entrepreneurial finance. His research has been presented at prestigious academic conferences such as those organized by the NBER, the American Finance Association, the Western Finance Association, and the American Economic Association, and published in leading academic journals including the Journal of Finance, the Journal of Financial Economics, and the Review of Financial Studies. He is an Associate Editor of the Asia-Pacific Journal of Financial Studies and served as a referee for over twenty academic journals.