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Competition, Bonuses, and Risk-taking in the Banking Industry


  • Christina E. Bannier
  • Eberhard Feess
  • Natalie Packham


Remuneration systems in the banking industry, in particular bonus payments, have frequently been blamed for contributing to the buildup of risks leading to the recent financial crisis. In our model, banks compete for managerial talent that is private information. Competition for talent sets incentives to offer bonuses inducing risk-taking that is excessive not only from society's perspective but also from the viewpoint of the banks themselves. In fact, bonus payments and excessive risk-taking are increasing with competition. Thus, our model offers a rationale why bonuses are paid even when reducing the expected profits of banks. Copyright 2013, Oxford University Press.

Suggested Citation

  • Christina E. Bannier & Eberhard Feess & Natalie Packham, 2013. "Competition, Bonuses, and Risk-taking in the Banking Industry," Review of Finance, European Finance Association, vol. 17(2), pages 653-690.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:revfin:v:17:y:2013:i:2:p:653-690

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    Cited by:

    1. Larry D. Wall, 2020. "Is stricter regulation of incentive compensation the missing piece?," Journal of Banking Regulation, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 21(1), pages 82-94, March.
    2. Jennifer Kunz & Mathias Heitz, 2021. "Banks’ risk culture and management control systems: A systematic literature review," Journal of Management Control: Zeitschrift für Planung und Unternehmenssteuerung, Springer, vol. 32(4), pages 439-493, December.
    3. 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.
    4. Gietl, Daniel & Kassner, Bernhard, 2020. "Managerial Overconfidence and Bank Bailouts," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 179(C), pages 202-222.
    5. Eberhard Feess & Ansgar Wohlschlegel, 2018. "Bank capital requirements and mandatory deferral of compensation," Journal of Regulatory Economics, Springer, vol. 53(2), pages 206-242, April.
    6. Vithessonthi, Chaiporn & Tongurai, Jittima, 2016. "Financial markets development, business cycles, and bank risk in South America," Research in International Business and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 36(C), pages 472-484.
    7. Thanassoulis, John, 2014. "Bank pay caps, bank risk, and macroprudential regulation," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 48(C), pages 139-151.
    8. Hendrik Hakenes & Isabel Schnabel, 2014. "Bank Bonuses and Bailouts," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 46(s1), pages 259-288, February.
    9. Sakalauskaite, Ieva & Harris, Qun, 2022. "Measuring the effects of bank remuneration rules: evidence from the UK," Bank of England working papers 1008, Bank of England.
    10. Gietl, Daniel & Haufler, Andreas, 2018. "Bonus taxes and international competition for bank managers," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 110(C), pages 41-60.
    11. Carlos Arteta & Mark Carey & Ricardo Correa & Jason Kotter, 2020. "Revenge of the Steamroller: ABCP as a Window on Risk Choices," Review of Finance, European Finance Association, vol. 24(3), pages 497-528.
    12. Woon Sau Leung & Wei Song & Jie Chen, 2018. "Does Bank Stakeholder Orientation Enhance Financial Stability? Evidence from a Natural Experiment," Working Papers 2018-14, Swansea University, School of Management.
    13. Vithessonthi, Chaiporn, 2023. "The consequences of bank loan growth: Evidence from Asia," International Review of Economics & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 83(C), pages 252-270.
    14. Shah, Syed Zulfiqar Ali & Akbar, Saeed & Liu, Jia & Liu, Ziyu & Cao, Sichen, 2017. "CEO compensation and banks’ risk-taking during pre and post financial crisis periods," Research in International Business and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 42(C), pages 1489-1503.
    15. Christina E. Bannier & Eberhard Feess & Natalie Packham & Markus Walzl, 2021. "Differentiation and Risk Aversion in Imperfectly Competitive Labor Markets," Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics (JITE), Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 177(1), pages 1-27.
    16. 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.
    17. Gietl, Daniel, 2018. "Overconfidence and Bailouts," Rationality and Competition Discussion Paper Series 132, CRC TRR 190 Rationality and Competition.
    18. Josef Falkinger & Michel A. Habib, 2021. "Managerial discretion and shareholder capital at risk," Journal of Business Finance & Accounting, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 48(7-8), pages 1215-1245, July.
    19. Bannier, Christina E. & Feess, Eberhard & Packham, Natalie, 2014. "Incentive schemes, private information and the double-edged role of competition for agents," CFS Working Paper Series 475, Center for Financial Studies (CFS).
    20. Chaiporn Vithessonthi, 2016. "The Consequences of Bank Loan Growth: Evidence from Asia," PIER Discussion Papers 19., Puey Ungphakorn Institute for Economic Research, revised Feb 2016.
    21. Hendrik Hakenes & Isabel Schnabel, 2012. "Bank Bonuses and Bail-outs," Working Papers 1203, Gutenberg School of Management and Economics, Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz.
    22. Maximilian von Ehrlich & Doina Radulescu, 2017. "The taxation of bonuses and its effect on executive compensation and risk‐taking: Evidence from the UK experience," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 26(3), pages 712-731, September.

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