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How Important Are Risk-Taking Incentives in Executive Compensation?

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Author Info

  • Ingolf Dittmann

    (Erasmus University Rotterdam)

  • Ko-Chia Yu

    (Erasmus University Rotterdam)

Abstract

This paper investigates whether observed executive compensation contracts are designed to provide risk-taking incentives in addition to effort incentives. We develop a stylized principal-agent model that captures the interdependence between firm risk and managerial incentives. We calibrate the model to individual CEO data and show that it can explain observed compensation practice surprisingly well. In particular, it justifies large option holdings and high base salaries. Our analysis suggests that options should be issued in the money. If tax effects are taken into account, the model is consistent with the almost uniform use of at-the-money stock options. We conclude that the provision of risk-taking incentives is a major objective in executive compensation practice.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Tinbergen Institute in its series Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers with number 09-076/2.

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Date of creation: 25 Aug 2009
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Handle: RePEc:dgr:uvatin:20090076

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Web page: http://www.tinbergen.nl

Related research

Keywords: Stock Options; Executive Compensation; Effort Aversion; Risk-Taking Incentives; Optimal Strike Price;

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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Yuliy Sannikov & Xavier Gabaix & Tomasz Sadzik & Alex Edmans, 2010. "Dynamic Incentive Accounts," 2010 Meeting Papers 1207, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  2. Pierre Chaigneau, 2012. "The Optimal Timing of CEO Compensation," Cahiers de recherche 1207, CIRPEE.
  3. Alex Edmans & Xavier Gabaix, 2010. "Risk and the CEO Market: Why Do Some Large Firms Hire Highly-Paid, Low-Talent CEOs?," NBER Working Papers 15987, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Bulan, Laarni & Sanyal, Paroma & Yan, Zhipeng, 2010. "A few bad apples: An analysis of CEO performance pay and firm productivity," Journal of Economics and Business, Elsevier, vol. 62(4), pages 273-306, July.
  5. Pierre Chaigneau, 2012. "The Effect of Risk Preferences on the Valuation and Incentives of Compensation Contracts," Cahiers de recherche 1209, CIRPEE.
  6. Pierre Chaigneau, 2012. "Explaining the Structure of CEO Incentive Pay with Decreasing Relative Risk Aversion," Cahiers de recherche 1208, CIRPEE.
  7. Dittmann, Ingolf & Maug, Ernst & Zhang, Dan, 2011. "Restricting CEO pay," Journal of Corporate Finance, Elsevier, vol. 17(4), pages 1200-1220, September.
  8. Kim, E. Han & Lu, Yao, 2011. "CEO ownership, external governance, and risk-taking," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 102(2), pages 272-292.
  9. Pierre Chaigneau, 2011. "Explaining the Structure of CEO Incentive Pay with Decreasing Relative Risk Aversion," FMG Discussion Papers dp693, Financial Markets Group.
  10. Liljeblom, Eva & Pasternack, Daniel & Rosenberg, Matts, 2011. "What determines stock option contract design?," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 102(2), pages 293-316.
  11. Pierre Chaigneau & Nicolas Sahuguet, 2012. "Pay-for-Luck in CEO Compensation: Matching and Efficient Contracting," Cahiers de recherche 1224, CIRPEE.

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