Wednesday, December 22, 2021
Date Written: October 5, 2021
The negative effects of common ownership on competition have received significant attention, but many proposed mechanisms for institutional investor influence seem implausible. We develop and test an analytical model of optimal compensation in an oligopoly with common ownership, focusing on revenue-based pay as a plausible channel through which institutional investors might influence competition. Our model implies a negative effect of common ownership on firms' use of revenue-based pay. Using both associative analyses and an event study difference-in-differences design based on plausibly exogenous institutional mergers, we find that common ownership has zero (or a marginally positive) effect on the use of revenue-based pay. Results involving relative performance incentives are similar. Collectively, our results provide no support for the notion that cross-owning block-holders influence compensation contracts in order to soften executives' incentives to compete aggressively.