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Perverse incentives at the banks? Evidence from a natural experiment

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  • Sumit Agarwal
  • Faye H. Wang

Abstract

Incentive provision is a central question in modern economic theory. During the run up to the financial crisis, many banks attempted to encourage loan underwriting by giving out incentive packages to loan officers. Using a unique data set on small business loan officer compensation from a major commercial bank, we test the model’s predictions that incentive compensation increases loan origination, but may induce the loan officers to book more risky loans. We find that the incentive package amounts to a 47% increase in loan approval rate, and a 24% increase in default rate. Overall, we find that the bank loses money by switching to incentive pay. We further test the effects of incentive pay on other loan characteristics using a multivariate difference-in-difference analysis.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago in its series Working Paper Series with number WP-09-08.

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Date of creation: 2009
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedhwp:wp-09-08

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Related research

Keywords: Incentive awards;

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Cited by:
  1. Pierre-Guillaume Méon & Roy Mersland & Ariane Szafarz & Marc Labie, 2011. "Discrimination by Microcredit Officers:Theory and Evidence on Disability in Uganda," DULBEA Working Papers 11-06, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  2. Heider, Florian & Inderst, Roman, 2012. "Loan prospecting," Working Paper Series 1439, European Central Bank.
  3. Gropp, R. & Grundl, C. & Guttler, A., 2012. "Does Discretion in Lending Increase Bank Risk? Borrower Self-Selection and Loan Officer Capture Effects," Discussion Paper 2012-030, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
  4. Masazumi Hattori & Kohei Shintani & Hirofumi Uchida, 2012. "Authority and Soft Information Production within a Bank Organization," IMES Discussion Paper Series 12-E-07, Institute for Monetary and Economic Studies, Bank of Japan.
  5. Deniz Igan & Prachi Mishra & Thierry Tressel, 2011. "A Fistful of Dollars: Lobbying and the Financial Crisis," NBER Working Papers 17076, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Andrea Bellucci & Alexander V. Borisov & Alberto Zazzaro, 2009. "Does Gender Matter in Bank-Firm Relationships? Evidence from Small Business Lending," Mo.Fi.R. Working Papers 31, Money and Finance Research group (Mo.Fi.R.) - Univ. Politecnica Marche - Dept. Economic and Social Sciences.
  7. Beck, T.H.L. & Behr, P. & Madestam, A., 2011. "Sex and Credit: Is There a Gender Bias in Microfinance?," Discussion Paper 2011-101, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
  8. Allen N. Berger & Thomas Kick & Klaus Schaeck, 2012. "Executive Board Composition and Bank Risk Taking," Working Papers 12004, Bangor Business School, Prifysgol Bangor University (Cymru / Wales).
  9. Thorsten Beck & Patrick Behr & Andreas Madestam, 2011. "Sex and Credit: Is There a Gender Bias in Lending?," Working Papers 411, IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University.
  10. Gregory Connor & Thomas Flavin & Brian O’Kelly, 2010. "The U.S. and Irish Credit Crises: Their Distinctive Differences and Common Features," Economics, Finance and Accounting Department Working Paper Series n206-10.pdf, Department of Economics, Finance and Accounting, National University of Ireland - Maynooth.
  11. Roman Inderst & Sebastian Pfeil, 2013. "Securitization and Compensation in Financial Institutions," Review of Finance, European Finance Association, vol. 17(4), pages 1323-1364.

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