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Executive Compensation: An Overview of Research on Corporate Practices and Proposed Reforms

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  • Michael Faulkender
  • Dalida Kadyrzhanova
  • N. Prabhala
  • Lemma Senbet

Abstract

Two landmark episodes of the last decade, the 2001 dot‐com crisis and the 2008 bursting of the housing bubble, have drawn attention to the size and structure of executive pay plans and their possible role in propagating or worsening the crises. In this policy‐oriented piece, the authors discuss the key issues in the debate on executive pay and express their support for a number of reform proposals that have been advanced in academic and policy circles. The article begins by dividing the compensation debate into four key issues: First, while public outrage has focused on the size of the pay packages at failed financial institutions, it is perhaps more important to focus on the structure of compensation and the process of setting compensation to prevent future crises. An effective pay package is not necessarily the one most laden with equity incentives. Too much equity exposure can cause excessive risk‐taking, manipulation, and shift executive attention away from true value creation. Second, incentive structures should incorporate indexing and clawbacks to guard against the possibility that performance benchmarks are rewarding luck more than sustainable, long‐run performance. Third, the compensation‐setting process should be placed in the hands of shareholders, boards, and advisors who are not only independent but also possess ample expertise in the financial instruments used to incentivize pay. Fourth and finally, any proposals for changes in compensation design or the taxation of compensation should anticipate how executives will alter their behavior in response to the changes, and evaluate the effect of the changes net of such offsetting responses.

Suggested Citation

  • Michael Faulkender & Dalida Kadyrzhanova & N. Prabhala & Lemma Senbet, 2010. "Executive Compensation: An Overview of Research on Corporate Practices and Proposed Reforms," Journal of Applied Corporate Finance, Morgan Stanley, vol. 22(1), pages 107-118, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:jacrfn:v:22:y:2010:i:1:p:107-118
    DOI: 10.1111/j.1745-6622.2010.00266.x
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    4. Haelim Anderson & Michael Carabello & Troy Kravitz, 2022. "Retrospective on Twenty Years of the FDIC-JFSR Bank Research Conference," Journal of Financial Services Research, Springer;Western Finance Association, vol. 61(1), pages 1-41, February.
    5. Martin Grossmann & Markus Lang & Helmut Dietl, 2016. "Why Taxing Executives' Bonuses Can Foster Risk-Taking Behavior," Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics (JITE), Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 172(4), pages 645-664, December.
    6. Timothy King & Jonathan Williams, 2013. "Bank Efficiency and Executive Compensation," Working Papers 13009, Bangor Business School, Prifysgol Bangor University (Cymru / Wales).
    7. Dietl Helmut M & Duschl Tobias & Lang Markus, 2011. "Executive Pay Regulation: What Regulators, Shareholders, and Managers Can Learn from Major Sports Leagues," Business and Politics, De Gruyter, vol. 13(2), pages 1-32, August.
    8. Dietl, Helmut M. & Grossmann, Martin & Lang, Markus & Wey, Simon, 2013. "Incentive effects of bonus taxes in a principal-agent model," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 89(C), pages 93-104.
    9. Gande, Amar & Kalpathy, Swaminathan, 2017. "CEO compensation and risk-taking at financial firms: Evidence from U.S. federal loan assistance," Journal of Corporate Finance, Elsevier, vol. 47(C), pages 131-150.
    10. Blackwell, Calvin & Graefe-Anderson, Rachel & Hefner, Frank & Vaught, Dyanne, 2015. "Power laws, CEO compensation and inequality," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 126(C), pages 78-80.
    11. Patrick Velte, 2020. "Determinants and consequences of clawback provisions in management compensation contracts: a structured literature review on empirical evidence," Business Research, Springer;German Academic Association for Business Research, vol. 13(3), pages 1417-1450, November.
    12. Lin Guo & Abu Jalal & Shahriar Khaksari, 2015. "Bank executive compensation structure, risk taking and the financial crisis," Review of Quantitative Finance and Accounting, Springer, vol. 45(3), pages 609-639, October.
    13. Fich, Eliezer M. & Starks, Laura T. & Yore, Adam S., 2014. "CEO deal-making activities and compensation," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 114(3), pages 471-492.
    14. Katarzyna Cieślak, 2018. "Agency conflicts, executive compensation regulations and CEO pay-performance sensitivity: evidence from Sweden," Journal of Management & Governance, Springer;Accademia Italiana di Economia Aziendale (AIDEA), vol. 22(3), pages 535-563, September.
    15. Yin Liu & Huiqi Gan & Khondkar Karim, 2020. "Corporate risk-taking after adoption of compensation clawback provisions," Review of Quantitative Finance and Accounting, Springer, vol. 54(2), pages 617-649, February.
    16. Karen Maas, 2018. "Do Corporate Social Performance Targets in Executive Compensation Contribute to Corporate Social Performance?," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 148(3), pages 573-585, March.
    17. Abraham Simon Otim Emuron & Tian Yixiang, 2020. "Financial distress and non‐executive director compensation: Evidence from state‐owned enterprises in South Africa post King III," African Development Review, African Development Bank, vol. 32(2), pages 228-239, June.
    18. Nik Ab Halim, 2013. "Knowledge Sharing between Multinational Corporation’s Headquarters and Subsidiaries: the Impact of Manager’s Role, Compensation System and Cultural Differences," Journal of Economics and Behavioral Studies, AMH International, vol. 5(10), pages 660-668.
    19. Karen Maas & Sanne Rosendaal, 2016. "Sustainability Targets in Executive Remuneration: Targets, Time Frame, Country and Sector Specification," Business Strategy and the Environment, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 25(6), pages 390-401, September.
    20. Clara Graziano & Annalisa Luporini, 2017. "Severance agreements, incentives and CEO dismissal," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 37(1), pages 440-447.
    21. Victor-Octavian Müller & Ionel-Alin Ienciu & Carmen Giorgiana Bonaci & Crina Ioana Filip, 2014. "Board Characteristics Best Practices and Financial Performance. Evidence from the European Capital Market," The AMFITEATRU ECONOMIC journal, Academy of Economic Studies - Bucharest, Romania, vol. 16(36), pages 672-672, May.
    22. Stefan Schmid & Sebastian Baldermann, 2021. "CEOs’ International Work Experience and Compensation," Management International Review, Springer, vol. 61(3), pages 313-364, June.

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