How do CEOs spend their time?

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IZA Research Seminar

Place: Schaumburg-Lippe-Str. 9, 53113 Bonn

Date: 16.06.2009, 12:15 - 13:30


Presentation by 

Oriana Bandiera (London School of Economics)


CEOs are the key decision makers for firms and the textbook example of agency theory as they do not own the firms they run and cannot be made residual claimants. Recent evidence shows that the identity and "style" of the CEO matters for firm performance, yet little is known about the CEOs' "production function": what does a CEO actually do? This paper develops a new methodology to provide evidence. We designed a time-use diary to be filled in by the CEOs' personal assistants and use this to collect information on the daily activities of 121 top Italian CEOs. We document substantial variation in CEOs style: CEOs spend most of their time in meetings but different CEOs differ on the time devoted to different type of participants. Matching our data with the firms' balance sheets we show that CEO devote time to activities that benefit them-such as meeting with outsiders-- but do not contribute to firm performance. We show that CEOs whose interests are better aligned with their firms devote less time to unproductive activities.

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