New research in a study from the David Eccles School of Business at the University of Utah found that CEOs who receive higher incentive pay often lead their companies to decreased financial performance. Specifically, the study discovered that the highest paid CEOs earn significantly lower stock returns for up to three years.

Additionally, CEOs with an average compensation of more than $20 million are linked to an average yearly loss of $1.4 billion for their organizations.

“It has become well established in academic research that businesses are racing to pay their executives more and more,” said Mike Cooper, professor of finance at the David Eccles School of Business and lead author of the study. His co-authors are Purdue University’s Huseyin Gulen and P. Ragha Vendra Rau of the University of Cambridge.