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Banker compensation and bank risk taking: the organizational economics view

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  • Arantxa Jarque
  • Edward S. Prescott

Abstract

Models of banks operating under limited liability with deposit insurance and employee incentive problems are used to analyze how banker compensation contracts can contribute to bank risk shifting. The first model is a multi-agent, moral-hazard model, where each agent (e.g. a loan officer) operates a risky lending technology. Results differ from the single-agent model; pay for performance contracts do not necessarily indicate risk at the bank level. Correlation of returns is the most important factor. If loan officer returns are uncorrelated, the form of pay is irrelevant for risk. If returns are correlated, a low wage causes risk. If correlation is endogenous, relative performance contracts that encourage correlation of returns can create bank risk. A sufficient condition for a contract to induce risk at the bank level is provided. The second model adds a loan review and risk management function that affects risk characteristics of loan officers' loans. Counter to common perception, paying loan reviewers and risk managers for performance does not necessarily create risk. The model also identifies the importance of evaluating the quality of bank controls as a means for limiting bank risk.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond in its series Working Paper with number 13-03.

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Date of creation: 2013
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedrwp:13-03

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Keywords: Bank supervision;

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  1. Edward Simpson Prescott & Arantxa Jarque, 2011. "Optimal bonuses and deferred pay for bank employees: implications of hidden actions with persistent effects in time," 2011 Meeting Papers 1230, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  2. Marshall, David A. & Prescott, Edward Simpson, 2006. "State-contingent bank regulation with unobserved actions and unobserved characteristics," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 30(11), pages 2015-2049, November.
  3. Patrick Bolton & Hamid Mehran & Joel Shapiro, 2010. "Executive compensation and risk taking," Staff Reports 456, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
  4. Ing-Haw Cheng & Harrison Hong & Jose A. Scheinkman, 2010. "Yesterday's Heroes: Compensation and Creative Risk-Taking," NBER Working Papers 16176, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. David A. Marshall & Edward S. Prescott, 2000. "Bank capital regulation with and without state-contingent penalties," Working Paper Series WP-00-10, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
  6. Keeley, Michael C. & Furlong, Frederick T., 1990. "A reexamination of mean-variance analysis of bank capital regulation," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 14(1), pages 69-84, March.
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