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Bank executive compensation structure, risk taking and the financial crisis

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  • Lin Guo
  • Abu Jalal
  • Shahriar Khaksari

Abstract

This paper investigates (1) how the composition of executive compensation is related to a bank’s incentive to take excessive risk, (2) whether executive compensation in larger banks, especially the too-big-to-fail (TBTF) banks, induces more severe moral hazard behavior, and (3) how the relation between bank executive compensation and risk taking changes before and during the recent financial crisis. We find that bank risk measured by the Z-score and the volatility of stock returns increases with both the percentages of short-term and long-term incentive compensation. However, greater proportion of incentive pay decreases the likelihood for a bank to become a problem or failed institution. This result holds for the periods before and during the recent financial crisis. The distress-mitigating effects of incentive compensation are further confirmed by our finding that both the proportions of bonus and long-term incentives are positively related to bank valuation and performance. Interestingly, we find that TBTF banks experience greater risk taking (lower Z-score) and are more likely to be in financial distress than smaller banks. However, greater incentive compensation in TBTF banks helps reduce their insolvency risk relative to smaller institutions. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Suggested Citation

  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:rqfnac:v:45:y:2015:i:3:p:609-639
    DOI: 10.1007/s11156-014-0449-1
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    Cited by:

    1. Hsin-Hui Chiu & Eva Wagner, 2020. "CEO Bonus Pay and Firm Credit Risk," International Journal of Risk and Contingency Management (IJRCM), IGI Global, vol. 9(1), pages 1-19, January.
    2. Sean M. Harkin & Davide S. Mare & Jonathan N. Crook, 2019. "Average pay in banks: do agency problems and bank performance matter?," Review of Quantitative Finance and Accounting, Springer, vol. 53(1), pages 101-122, July.
    3. Tran, Dung Viet & Kabir Hassan, M. & Houston, Reza, 2019. "How does listing status affect bank risk? The effects of crisis, market discipline and regulatory pressure on listed and unlisted BHCs," The North American Journal of Economics and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 49(C), pages 85-103.
    4. Anachit Bagntasarian & Emmanuel Mamatzakis, 2019. "Testing for the underlying dynamics of bank capital buffer and performance nexus," Review of Quantitative Finance and Accounting, Springer, vol. 52(2), pages 347-380, February.
    5. Mamatzakis, Emmanuel & Bagntasarian, Anna, 2019. "The nexus between underlying dynamics of bank capital buffer and performance," MPRA Paper 92961, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    6. Huang, qhuang, 2020. "Executive compensation and risk-taking of Chinese banks," MPRA Paper 100377, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 18 Apr 2020.
    7. Jamshed Iqbal & Sami Vähämaa, 2019. "Managerial risk-taking incentives and the systemic risk of financial institutions," Review of Quantitative Finance and Accounting, Springer, vol. 53(4), pages 1229-1258, November.
    8. Li, Leon & Kuo, Chii-Shyan, 2017. "CEO equity compensation and earnings management: The role of growth opportunities," Finance Research Letters, Elsevier, vol. 20(C), pages 289-295.
    9. Chen, Hsiao-Jung & Lin, Kuan-Ting, 2016. "How do banks make the trade-offs among risks? The role of corporate governance," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 72(S), pages 39-69.
    10. Naaman, Christine & Magnan, Michel & Hammami, Ahmad & Yao, Li, 2021. "Credit unions vs. commercial banks, who takes more risk?," Research in International Business and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 55(C).

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Bank executive compensation; Moral hazard; Bank risk; Financial crisis; G34; G01; G32; G21; G28;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • G34 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Mergers; Acquisitions; Restructuring; Corporate Governance
    • G01 - Financial Economics - - General - - - Financial Crises
    • G32 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Financing Policy; Financial Risk and Risk Management; Capital and Ownership Structure; Value of Firms; Goodwill
    • G21 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Banks; Other Depository Institutions; Micro Finance Institutions; Mortgages
    • G28 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Government Policy and Regulation

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