DP15115 Relative Performance Evaluation, Sabotage and Collusion

Author(s): Matthew J. Bloomfield, Catarina Marvao, Giancarlo Spagnolo
Publication Date: July 2020
Keyword(s): cartels, Collusion, Compensation, Relative Performance Evaluation, Sabotage
JEL(s): G34, L22
Programme Areas: Financial Economics, Industrial Organization
Link to this Page: cepr.org/active/publications/discussion_papers/dp.php?dpno=15115

We examine whether the potential for costly sabotage is a deterrent to firms' use of relative performance evaluation ("RPE") in CEO pay plans. We exploit illegal cartel membership as a source of variation in the potential for costly sabotage and document that firms are more likely to use RPE if they are currently cartel members. Moreover, firms frequently drop RPE from their CEOs' pay plans immediately after their cartels are detected. We further provide suggestive evidence that the potential for costly sabotage explains these patterns; cartel membership severs the empirical association between RPE and competitive aggression.