Wei Jiang, Bin Ke, Hong Ru, and Yue Xu
The objective of this study is to analyze the compensation practices of non-CEO top executives as a group measured by horizontal pay dispersion. We address two specific questions. First, we examine whether government ownership affects non-CEO executives’ horizontal pay dispersion. Second, we examine how such ownership-induced horizontal pay dispersion affects firm performance. We find that non-CEO top executives’ horizontal pay dispersion is lower in government-controlled firms (SOEs) than in privately-controlled firms (non-SOEs). We show that the difference in horizontal pay dispersion between SOEs and non-SOEs is consistent with the institutional differences between the two ownership types. There is evidence that such ownership-induced horizontal pay dispersion is associated with lower firm performance, suggesting that SOEs’ horizontal pay dispersion is suboptimal from the perspective of shareholder value maximization.