IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/
MyIDEAS: Login to save this article or follow this journal

CEO compensation and corporate risk: Evidence from a natural experiment

  • Gormley, Todd A.
  • Matsa, David A.
  • Milbourn, Todd
Registered author(s):

    This paper examines the two-way relationship between managerial compensation and corporate risk by exploiting an unanticipated change in firms' business risks. The natural experiment provides an opportunity to examine two classic questions related to incentives and risk—how boards adjust incentives in response to firms' risk and how these incentives affect managers' risk-taking. We find that, after left-tail risk increases, boards reduce managers' exposure to stock price movements and that less convexity from options-based pay leads to greater risk-reducing activities. Specifically, managers with less convex payoffs tend to cut leverage and R&D, stockpile cash, and engage in more diversifying acquisitions.

    If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

    File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0165410113000505
    Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.

    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Accounting and Economics.

    Volume (Year): 56 (2013)
    Issue (Month): 2 ()
    Pages: 79-101

    as
    in new window

    Handle: RePEc:eee:jaecon:v:56:y:2013:i:2:p:79-101
    Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/jae

    References listed on IDEAS
    Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

    as in new window
    1. Michel Habib & Alexander Ljungqvist, 2000. "Firm Value and Managerial Incentives: A Stochastic Frontier Approach," OFRC Working Papers Series 2000fe03, Oxford Financial Research Centre.
    2. Haugen, Robert A & Senbet, Lemma W, 1981. "Resolving the Agency Problems of External Capital through Options," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 36(3), pages 629-47, June.
    3. Tchistyi, Alexei & Yermack, David & Yun, Hayong, 2011. "Negative Hedging: Performance-Sensitive Debt and CEOs’ Equity Incentives," Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, Cambridge University Press, vol. 46(03), pages 657-686, June.
    4. Chava, Sudheer & Purnanandam, Amiyatosh, 2010. "CEOs versus CFOs: Incentives and corporate policies," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 97(2), pages 263-278, August.
    5. Palia, Darius, 2001. "The Endogeneity of Managerial Compensation in Firm Valuation: A Solution," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 14(3), pages 735-64.
    6. Stephen A. Ross, 2004. "Compensation, Incentives, and the Duality of Risk Aversion and Riskiness," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 59(1), pages 207-225, 02.
    7. Agrawal, Anup & Mandelker, Gershon N, 1987. " Managerial Incentives and Corporate Investment and Financing Decision s," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 42(4), pages 823-37, September.
    8. Jennifer N. Carpenter, 2000. "Does Option Compensation Increase Managerial Risk Appetite?," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 55(5), pages 2311-2331, October.
    9. Charles P. Himmelberg & R. Glenn Hubbard & Darius Palia, 2000. "Understanding the Determinants of Managerial Ownership and the Link Between Ownership and Performance," NBER Working Papers 7209, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    10. Berger, Philip G & Ofek, Eli & Yermack, David L, 1997. " Managerial Entrenchment and Capital Structure Decisions," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 52(4), pages 1411-38, September.
    11. Rajesh K. Aggarwal & Andrew A. Samwick, 1999. "The Other Side of the Trade-off: The Impact of Risk on Executive Compensation," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 107(1), pages 65-105, February.
    12. DeFusco, Richard A & Johnson, Robert R & Zorn, Thomas S, 1990. " The Effect of Executive Stock Option Plans on Stockholders and Bondholders," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 45(2), pages 617-27, June.
    13. Mehran, Hamid, 1992. "Executive Incentive Plans, Corporate Control, and Capital Structure," Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, Cambridge University Press, vol. 27(04), pages 539-560, December.
    14. Tufano, Peter, 1996. " Who Manages Risk? An Empirical Examination of Risk Management Practices in the Gold Mining Industry," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 51(4), pages 1097-1137, September.
    15. Hirshleifer, David & Suh, Yoon, 1992. "Risk, managerial effort, and project choice," Journal of Financial Intermediation, Elsevier, vol. 2(3), pages 308-345, September.
    16. Bizjak, John M. & Brickley, James A. & Coles, Jeffrey L., 1993. "Stock-based incentive compensation and investment behavior," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 16(1-3), pages 349-372, April.
    17. John Core, 2002. "Estimating the Value of Employee Stock Option Portfolios and Their Sensitivities to Price and Volatility," Journal of Accounting Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 40(3), pages 613-630, 06.
    18. Ohad Kadan, 2008. "Stocks or Options? Moral Hazard, Firm Viability, and the Design of Compensation Contracts," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 21(1), pages 451-482, January.
    19. Christine Jolls, 1998. "Stock Repurchases and Incentive Compensation," NBER Working Papers 6467, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    20. Mehran, Hamid, 1995. "Executive compensation structure, ownership, and firm performance," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 38(2), pages 163-184, June.
    21. Jensen, Michael C. & Meckling, William H., 1976. "Theory of the firm: Managerial behavior, agency costs and ownership structure," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 3(4), pages 305-360, October.
    22. Myers, Stewart C., 1977. "Determinants of corporate borrowing," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 5(2), pages 147-175, November.
    23. Rajgopal, Shivaram & Shevlin, Terry, 2002. "Empirical evidence on the relation between stock option compensation and risk taking," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 33(2), pages 145-171, June.
    24. John D. Knopf & Jouahn Nam & John H. Thornton Jr., 2002. "The Volatility and Price Sensitivities of Managerial Stock Option Portfolios and Corporate Hedging," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 57(2), pages 801-813, 04.
    25. Smith, C.W. & Watts, R.L., 1992. "The Investment Oppotunity set and Corporate Financing, Dividend and Compensation Policies," Papers 92-02, Rochester, Business - Financial Research and Policy Studies.
    26. May, Don O, 1995. " Do Managerial Motives Influence Firm Risk Reduction Strategies?," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 50(4), pages 1291-1308, September.
    27. Catherine Schrand & Haluk Unal, 1998. "Hedging and Coordinated Risk Management: Evidence from Thrift Conversions," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 53(3), pages 979-1013, 06.
    28. Core, John & Guay, Wayne, 1999. "The use of equity grants to manage optimal equity incentive levels," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 28(2), pages 151-184, December.
    29. Graham, John R. & Harvey, Campbell R. & Puri, Manju, 2013. "Managerial attitudes and corporate actions," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 109(1), pages 103-121.
    30. Yakov Amihud & Baruch Lev, 1981. "Risk Reduction as a Managerial Motive for Conglomerate Mergers," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 12(2), pages 605-617, Autumn.
    31. Todd A. Gormley & David A. Matsa, 2011. "Growing Out of Trouble? Corporate Responses to Liability Risk," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 24(8), pages 2781-2821.
    32. Alex Edmans & Xavier Gabaix, 2011. "The Effect of Risk on the CEO Market," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 24(8), pages 2822-2863.
    33. Denis, David J & Denis, Diane K & Sarin, Atulya, 1997. " Agency Problems, Equity Ownership, and Corporate Diversification," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 52(1), pages 135-60, March.
    34. Fama, Eugene F. & French, Kenneth R., 1997. "Industry costs of equity," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 43(2), pages 153-193, February.
    35. Smith, Clifford W. & Stulz, René M., 1985. "The Determinants of Firms' Hedging Policies," Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, Cambridge University Press, vol. 20(04), pages 391-405, December.
    36. David Aboody & Mary E. Barth & Ron Kasznik, 2004. "Firms' Voluntary Recognition of Stock-Based Compensation Expense," Journal of Accounting Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 42(2), pages 123-150, 05.
    37. Armstrong, Christopher S. & Vashishtha, Rahul, 2012. "Executive stock options, differential risk-taking incentives, and firm value," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 104(1), pages 70-88.
    38. Demsetz, Harold & Lehn, Kenneth, 1985. "The Structure of Corporate Ownership: Causes and Consequences," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 93(6), pages 1155-77, December.
    39. Coles, Jeffrey L. & Daniel, Naveen D. & Naveen, Lalitha, 2006. "Managerial incentives and risk-taking," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 79(2), pages 431-468, February.
    40. Yermack, David, 1995. "Do corporations award CEO stock options effectively?," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 39(2-3), pages 237-269.
    41. Hayes, Rachel M. & Lemmon, Michael & Qiu, Mingming, 2012. "Stock options and managerial incentives for risk taking: Evidence from FAS 123R," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 105(1), pages 174-190.
    42. Saunders, Anthony & Strock, Elizabeth & Travlos, Nickolaos G, 1990. " Ownership Structure, Deregulation, and Bank Risk Taking," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 45(2), pages 643-54, June.
    43. Rogers, Daniel A., 2002. "Does executive portfolio structure affect risk management? CEO risk-taking incentives and corporate derivatives usage," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 26(2-3), pages 271-295, March.
    44. Esty, Benjamin C., 1997. "Organizational form and risk taking in the savings and loan industry," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 44(1), pages 25-55, April.
    45. Gaver, Jennifer J. & Gaver, Kenneth M., 1993. "Additional evidence on the association between the investment opportunity set and corporate financing, dividend, and compensation policies," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 16(1-3), pages 125-160, April.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

    When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:jaecon:v:56:y:2013:i:2:p:79-101. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Zhang, Lei)

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

    If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.