Hello! I’m a PhD candidate in Finance at the Fuqua School of Business, Duke University. I conduct research in corporate finance. I study how shareholders influence executive compensation policy through shareholder voting. I’m also interested in corporate investment (including the determination of discount rates, capital budgeting and project horizons) and corporate flexibility.

I have a BA in Philosophy, Politics, Economics and Sociology (PPES) from Trinity College Dublin, and a Master’s from the Barcelona School of Economics.

In July, I will join the finance group at Rice University Jones School of Business!

john.w.barry@duke.edu

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  • Shareholder Voice and Executive Compensation
    December 2023
    ssrn
    Abstract Managerial influence on the Board of Directors induces an agency problem in the design of executive compensation. I evaluate the role of shareholder voice in disciplining compensation practices by estimating a model of CEO compensation with non-binding shareholder approval votes (Say-on-Pay). The Board sets CEO pay and is biased towards a high wage; shareholders can fail the Say-on-Pay (SOP) and punish the Board for overpayment. Failed votes are perceived as costly by both the Board and shareholders: a cost of 2.06% (0.76%) of value for the Board (shareholders) is sufficient to match the data. SOP thus resembles a costly punishment mechanism and the disciplining effect on compensation increases firm value by 4.6% on average. Empirical evidence suggests the Board cost is a career and reputation concern for directors, and shareholders internalize a cost to dissenting from the Board on a prominent policy. I construct a counterfactual SOP mechanism which emulates giving a focal shareholder an advisory seat on the Board; this lowers the SOP failure rate, decreases wages and further increases firm value.
    Presentations (* = scheduled) LBS Transatlantic Doctoral Conference, Duke Industrial Organization Seminar, WashU Olin Finance Conference PhD Poster Session, Boca Corporate Finance and Governance Conference, MFA 2024, EFA 2024*