Hyunseob Kim

Executive Mobility in the United States, 1920 to 2011

We examine the evolution of executive mobility from 1920-2011. In the eight decades leading up to 2001, movements of executives to new executive positions became more common. Starting in the early-2000s however, mobility started to decline. We develop a new measure of aggregate executive mobility and explore which forces contributed to these trends; we find that changing importance of general managerial skills, labor market size, and benefits of reallocating executives help explain executive mobility. We also explore the relation between mobility and executive pay. Using CEO deaths and health-related resignations in connected industries as an instrument, we find that increased mobility leads to a shift towards option pay, consistent with firms changing pay composition to retain CEOs in response to an increase in external labor market opportunities.