Executive compensation has long attracted a great deal of attention from financial economists. Indeed, the increase in academic papers on the subject of CEO compensation during the 1990s seems to have outpaced even the remarkable increase in CEO pay itself during this period (Murphy, 1999). Much research has focused on how executive compensation schemes can help alleviate the agency problem in publicly traded companies. To understand adequately the landscape of executive compensation, however, one must recognize that the design of compensation arrangements is also partly a product of this same agency problem.
"Executive Compensation as an Agency Problem." Journal of Economic Perspectives,