Compustat’s Execucomp database

Compustat’s Execucomp database:

Data availability and usability


Jessica Schieder

Economic Policy Institute/ Economic Analysis and Research Network
Thursday, May 17, 2018

What is Compustat?

  • A market database published by Standard and Poor’s
  • Offers access to a North American or a Global databases
  • Offers add-on’s, including Execucomp

Compustat ExecuComp

  • Provides annual data from 1992 forward on the top five executive officers within a company
  • Represents the S&P 1500, contains more than 31,000 executives, and includes more than 100 different compensation items
  • Released 6 times per year: January, April, May, June, August, and October

Organizational Structure

  • Execucomp contains 14 data files:
    1. Anncomp: annual compensation information for executives
    2. Black_Scholes_Means: measures of market volatility used for Black-Scholes calculations
    3. Codirfin: corporate performance measures
    4. Colev: company location, industry, and stock ticker
    5. CoPerol: information on executive turnover
    6. DataItems: summary of all variables included int he package
    7. DeferredComp: contributions to deferred compensation plans
    8. DirectorComp: director compensation measures
    9. Ltawdtab: long-term incentive and performance awards
    10. OutstandingAwards: information on unexercised options and compensation
    11. Pension: information on tenure and retirement contributions
    12. Person: Executive name, age, and gender
    13. PlanBasedAwards: Equity-based incentives and awards
    14. Stgrttab: Valuing options granted using the modified Black-Scholes methodology

Why is Black-Scholes important, again?

  • a.k.a.–the Black-Scholes-Merton model
  • Models the price variation over time of financial instruments such as stocks
  • Assumes the price of heavily traded assets follows a geometric Brownian motion with constant drift and volatility
    • Implication: Model incorporates the constant price variation of the stocks, the time value of money, the option’s strike price, and the time to the option’s expiry

How do we use these files for our annual CEO compensation report?

  • Using the Execucomp sales measure (codirfin), we identify top firms for analysis.
  • We then couple our listing with data on CEO compensation (anncomp) and industry (colev).
  • Using CPS and BEA data, we separately construct a unique compensation per worker estimate by industry.
  • By comparing executive compensation with worker compensation, we construct ratios for each of the top firms.