Explicit employment contracts and CEO compensation

Wei Ling Song, Kam Ming Wan

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


This study investigates the relation between the use of explicit employment agreements (EA) and CEO compensation. Overall, our findings are broadly consistent with the predictions of Klein, Crawford, and Alchian (1978) that an EA is used to induce CEOs to make firm-specific human capital investments that are vulnerable to opportunistic behavior. We determine that compensation is higher when CEOs have employment agreements that are written, longer in duration, or more explicit in terms. Additionally, such employment agreements are more likely to occur when firms have (i) externally hired CEOs, (ii) CEOs with large abnormal compensation, (iii) low investment intensity, (iv) low growth opportunities, and (v) CEOs with a short employment history with the firm.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)540-560
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Corporate Finance
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2017


  • CEO compensation
  • Contract explicitness
  • Employment contracts

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • Finance
  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Strategy and Management


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