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Xiaoying Chen ORCID logo, Jasmine Yur-Austin

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This study reviews the role of various corporate governance mechanisms to pay for performance in American technology firms. Compared to traditional business leaders, CEOs in technology firms possess stronger power for negotiating with shareholders; such power theoretically lowers the chance of interest conflicts between management and control but may increase CEOs’ wage rigidity during business downturns, especially in firms with poor corporate governance. We evaluate ownership structure; board composition; and the existence of independent compensation committees throughout the dot-com bubble and bubble-burst periods. We aim to examine during the business downturn period whether these CEOs cut their compensation effectively or exercise their negotiation power to protect their own benefit. Our empirical results provide strong evidence that given poor firm performance, CEOs with weak corporate governance negotiate higher cash-based pay rather than reduce their compensations. However, we find that venture capitalists play an important role in monitoring CEOs and revising compensation.

Keywords: Corporate Governance, Executive Compensation, Ownership, Wage Rigidity, Technology Industry

JEL Classification: G30, G34, J3

Received: 23.07.2018

Accepted: 10.09.2018

Published online: 26.09.2018

How to cite this paper: Chen, X., & Yur-Austin, J. (2018). Downward wage rigidity in American technology firms. Corporate Ownership & Control, 15(4-1), 181-190.