From the perspective of top management heterogeneity, this paper aims to study the impact of the psychological traits of executive pay bandwagon on earnings management in the listed companies of China.
This paper applies the ratio of executive pay to the median pay level of executives in firms of similar size and industry, namely, the comparing coefficient, as an alternative variable of executive pay bandwagon, and earnings management as the behavior choice of executive pay bandwagon, to examine whether executives in the listed companies of China have comparing mentality, and whether the result is influenced by executive heterogeneity by using the multiple linear regression models.
The lower the executives’ compensation is than the median pay level of executives in firms of similar size and industry, the stronger the incentive the executives have to compare with others whose pay is higher, increasing the extent of earnings management in the future, and executives tend to use real activities manipulation rather than accrual-based earnings management to increase their performance-based compensation. As pay bandwagon is a kind of executives’ individual psychological reaction, in a large extent, its behavioral performance is likely to be affected by executive heterogeneity. Specifically, when the proportion of male executives, young executives or low educated executives is relatively high, or executives are located in remote cities, there will breed more earnings management behaviors induced by pay bandwagon. Further study shows that pay bandwagon is positively correlated with rigging compensation based on real earnings management and pay bandwagon also has significantly negative effects on the firms’ future value creation.
Pay bandwagon is an important inducement of executives’ earnings management, with implication that for executives with different characteristics, one should pay attention to the subjective psychological perception and expectation of their pay in the future studies related to executives’ compensation incentives.
This study introduces the research within sociology, psychology and experimental economics, and considers the executives’ subjective perception of their pay, to explore the internal mechanism that executives affect firm performance via a specific earnings management method and to implement self-interested behavior due to pay bandwagon. And this is the first study to select several typical executive individual characteristics to investigate the influence of executive heterogeneity on pay bandwagon and its economic consequences.
The authors acknowledge the financial support of MOE Project of Humanities and Social Sciences (No. 14XJA630002) and Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities (No. JBK160917 and No. JBK1607157).
Luo, H., Zeng, Y., Wan, L. and Shen, Y. (2016), "Executive heterogeneity, pay bandwagon, and earnings management", Nankai Business Review International, Vol. 7 No. 4, pp. 426-450. https://doi.org/10.1108/NBRI-04-2016-0015Download as .RIS
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