Director Compensation, CEO Duality, State Ownership, and Firm Performance in China: Proof from Panel Data of Publicly Listed Enterprises from 1999 to 2020
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Director Compensation, CEO Duality, State Ownership, and Firm Performance in China: Proof from Panel Data of Publicly Listed Enterprises from 1999 to 2020

Authors: Wanda Luen-Wun Siu, Xiaowen Zhang


This paper offered the primary methodical proof on how director remuneration related to enterprise earnings in listed firms in China in light of most evidence focusing on cross-sectional data or data in a short span of time. Using full economic and business panel data on China’s publicly listed enterprise from 1999 to 2020 over two decades in the China Stock Market & Accounting Research database, we found statistically significant positive associations between director pay and firm performance in privately owned firms over this period, supporting the agency theory. In contrast, among the state-owned enterprises, there was a reverse relation between director compensation and firm financial performance, contributing to the existing literature. But the results also revealed that state-owned enterprises financially performed as well as private enterprises. Such findings suggested that state ownership might line up officials’ career incentives with party prime concern rather than pecuniary incentives. Also, CEO duality enhanced firm performance. As such, allegiance to the party and possible advancement to an upper-level political position would motivate company directors in state-owned enterprises. On the other hand, directors in privately owned enterprises might be motivated by monetary incentives. In addition, a statistical regression model was proposed and tested to get the results of the performance of state-owned enterprises. Finally, some suggestions were made about how to improve the institutional management of government-owned corporations in China.

Keywords: China’s listed Firm, director compensation, CEO duality, firm performance, panel analysis.

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