Cronyism and the Determinants of Chairman Compensation

Reprint No. 2015:52

Author(s): Lars Oxelheim and Kevin ClarksonYear: 2015 Title: Journal of Business Ethics Volume (No.): 131 (1) Pages: 69–87
Online article (restrictions may apply)

This study examines determinants of chairman compensation in a supervisory board setting and, specifically, the relationship between chairman and CEO compensation. Using a sample of publicly listed firms in Sweden, the study indicates that chairman compensation—despite its fixed nature—is reflective of firm performance via a positive relationship to CEO compensation. As CEO compensation is set before chairman compensation, we argue that the chairman may be inclined to conspire with the CEO in earnings management efforts at the expense of monitoring on behalf of investors. Supporting our cronyism argument, we find evidence that the gap between chairman and CEO compensation is less at firms where the chairman had previously served in the executive management team. The close ties between the chairman and CEO compensation add to the understanding of the relative success of the managerial power theory versus the agency theory in explaining CEO compensation.

Oxelheim, Lars and Kevin Clarkson (2015), "Cronyism and the Determinants of Chairman Compensation". Journal of Business Ethics 131(1), 69–87.

Lars Oxelheim


Ph: +46 8 665 4527
Mob: +46 70 861 9361

Interdisciplinary European Studies

The European Union and the Return of the Nation State


This book explores the complex and ever-changing relationship between the European Union and its member states. The recent surge in tension in this relationship has been prompted by the actions of some member state governments as they question fundamental EU values and principles and refuse to implement common decisions seemingly on the basis of narrowly defined national interests.

About the book


Seminars organized by IFN


To present ongoing research informal brown-bag seminars are held on Mondays at 11:30 am. This is an opportunity for IFN researchers to test ideas and results.

Academically oriented seminars are most of the time held on Wednesdays at 10 am. At these events researchers from IFN and other institutions present their research.

In addition, IFN organizes seminars open to the public. Topics for these are derived from the IFN research.

Research Institute of Industrial Economics, Grevgatan 34 - 2 fl, Box 55665, SE-102 15 Stockholm, Sweden | Phone: +46-(0)8-665 45 00 | info@ifn.se