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Looking beyond the CEO: executive compensation at banks

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  • Rebecca S. Demsetz
  • Marc R. Saidenberg
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    Abstract

    The literature on executive compensation at banks has proceeded largely under the assumption that a single elasticity can adequately describe the sensitivity of executive pay to firm performance, but theories of performance based pay and tournament pay suggest that this assumption may be incorrect. We test the single-elasticity assumption by comparing the components of compensation and the pay-performance relationship across banks with different characteristics and bank executives of different positions. We find that the structure of compensation varies significantly across firms, with firm size being an important explanatory firm characteristic. The structure of compensation also varies across executive positions, but only after controlling for differences across firms. These patterns translate into significant differences in pay-performance relationships across firms, with size being the distinguishing firm characteristic. Differences across executives are less robust. There is some evidence that CEO stature enhances pay-performance sensitivity at the largest banks in our sample, but the non-base pay components of CEO compensation are apparently less performance sensitive than their labels would suggest.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of New York in its series Staff Reports with number 68.

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    Date of creation: 1999
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    Handle: RePEc:fip:fednsr:68

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    Related research

    Keywords: Wages ; Bank employees ; Bank directors ; Bank size ; Bank profits;

    References

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    1. Jensen, M.C. & Murphy, K.J., 1988. "Performance Pay And Top Management Incentives," Papers 88-04, Rochester, Business - Managerial Economics Research Center.
    2. Edward P. Lazear & Sherwin Rosen, 1979. "Rank-Order Tournaments as Optimum Labor Contracts," NBER Working Papers 0401, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Robert Gibbons & Kevin J. Murphy, 1990. "Relative performance evaluation for chief executive officers," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 43(3), pages 30-51, February.
    4. Murphy, Kevin J., 2000. "Performance standards in incentive contracts," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(3), pages 245-278, December.
    5. Barro, Jason R. & Barro, Robert J., 1990. "Pay, Performance, and Turnover of Bank CEOs," Scholarly Articles 3451300, Harvard University Department of Economics.
    6. Houston, Joel F. & James, Christopher, 1995. "CEO compensation and bank risk Is compensation in banking structured to promote risk taking?," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 36(2), pages 405-431, November.
    7. Gibbons, Robert & Murphy, Kevin J, 1992. "Optimal Incentive Contracts in the Presence of Career Concerns: Theory and Evidence," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(3), pages 468-505, June.
    8. Kevin J. Murphy, 1986. "Incentives, Learning, and Compensation: A Theoretical and Empirical Investigation of Managerial Labor Contracts," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 17(1), pages 59-76, Spring.
    9. Crawford, Anthony J & Ezzell, John R & Miles, James A, 1995. "Bank CEO Pay-Performance Relations and the Effects of Deregulation," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 68(2), pages 231-56, April.
    10. R. Glenn Hubbard & Darius Palia, 1994. "Executive Pay and Performance: Evidence from the U.S. Banking Industry," NBER Working Papers 4704, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    11. Murphy, Kevin J., 1999. "Executive compensation," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 38, pages 2485-2563 Elsevier.
    12. Scott Schaefer, 1998. "The Dependence Of Pay--Performance Sensitivity On The Size Of The Firm," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 80(3), pages 436-443, August.
    13. Donald P. Morgan, 1998. "Judging the risk of banks: what makes banks opaque?," Research Paper 9805, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
    14. Garen, John E, 1994. "Executive Compensation and Principal-Agent Theory," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 102(6), pages 1175-99, December.
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    Cited by:
    1. Gianni De Nicolo, 2000. "Size, charter value and risk in banking: an international perspective," International Finance Discussion Papers 689, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).

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