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Incentive pay and bank risk-taking: Evidence from Austrian, German, and Swiss banks

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  • Efing, Matthias
  • Hau, Harald
  • Kampkötter, Patrick
  • Steinbrecher, Johannes

Abstract

We use payroll data in the Austrian, German, and Swiss banking sector to identify incentive pay in the critical banking segments of treasury/capital market management and investment banking for 67 banks. We document an economically significant correlation of incentive pay with both the level and volatility of bank trading income—particularly for the pre-crisis period 2003–2007, in which incentive pay was strongest. This result is robust if we instrument the bonus share in the capital market divisions with the strength of incentive pay in unrelated bank divisions like retail banking. Moreover, pre-crisis incentive pay appears too strong for an optimal trade-off between trading income and risk, which maximizes the net present value of trading income. Further analyses indicate that the bonus moderation during the crisis has removed excessive pre-crisis incentive pay.

Suggested Citation

  • Efing, Matthias & Hau, Harald & Kampkötter, Patrick & Steinbrecher, Johannes, 2015. "Incentive pay and bank risk-taking: Evidence from Austrian, German, and Swiss banks," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 96(S1), pages 123-140.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:inecon:v:96:y:2015:i:s1:p:s123-s140
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jinteco.2014.12.006
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    Cited by:

    1. Axel Wieneke, 2016. "Better Financial Innovation via Innovative Finance of Supervisors," Economic Papers, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 35(1), pages 16-23, March.
    2. Gietl, Daniel, 2018. "Overconfidence and Bailouts," Rationality and Competition Discussion Paper Series 132, CRC TRR 190 Rationality and Competition.
    3. Aptus, Elias & Britz, Volker & Gersbach, Hans, 2014. "On the economics of crisis contracts," CFS Working Paper Series 453, Center for Financial Studies (CFS).
    4. Matthias Efing & Harald Hau & Patrick Kampkktter & Jean-Charles Rochet, 2018. "Bank Bonus Pay as a Risk Sharing Contract," Working Papers hal-01847442, HAL.
    5. Harkin, Sean M. & Mare, Davide S. & Crook, Jonathan N., 2017. "Average Pay in Banks: Do Agency Problems and Bank Performance Matter?," MPRA Paper 81249, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    6. Morrison, Alan & Thanassoulis, John, 2017. "Ethical standards and cultural assimilation in financial services," CEPR Discussion Papers 12060, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    7. repec:eee:eecrev:v:110:y:2018:i:c:p:41-60 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. repec:gam:jijfss:v:5:y:2017:i:4:p:31-:d:121071 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. Wall, Larry D., 2019. "Is Stricter Regulation of Incentive Compensation the Missing Piece?," FRB Atlanta Working Paper 2019-6, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.
    10. Colonnello, Stefano & Koetter, Michael & Wagner, Konstantin, 2018. "Effectiveness and (in)efficiencies of compensation regulation: Evidence from the EU banker bonus cap," IWH Discussion Papers 7/2018, Halle Institute for Economic Research (IWH).
    11. Jason Allen & James R. Thompson, 2016. "Capital Structure, Pay Structure and Job Termination," Staff Working Papers 16-12, Bank of Canada.
    12. Gietl, Daniel & Haufler, Andreas, 2018. "Bonus taxes and international competition for bank managers," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 110(C), pages 41-60.
    13. Matthias Efing & Harald Hau & Patrick Kampkötter & Johannes Steinbrecher, 2015. "Die Dosis macht das Gift – eine Analyse zum Einfluss von Bonuszahlungen auf die Profitabilität und das Risiko von Banken," ifo Schnelldienst, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, vol. 68(03), pages 23-31, February.
    14. Boustanifar, Hamid & Grant, Everett & Reshef, Ariell, 2016. "Wages and human capital in finance: international evidence, 1970-2005," Globalization Institute Working Papers 266, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Trading income; Bank risk; Incentive pay; Bonus payments;

    JEL classification:

    • G20 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - General
    • G21 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Banks; Other Depository Institutions; Micro Finance Institutions; Mortgages
    • D22 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Firm Behavior: Empirical Analysis

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