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Bonus caps, deferrals and bankers' risk-taking

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  • Jokivuolle, Esa
  • Keppo, Jussi
  • Yuan, Xuchuan

Abstract

Regulators restrict bankers’ risk-taking by bonus caps or deferrals. We derive a structural model to analyze these compensation regulations and show that for a risk-neutral banker subject to positive switching costs of reducing bank risk, a bonus deferral is impotent while a sufficiently tight bonus cap reduces risk-taking. The model suggests that a bonus cap that equals fixed salary (as in the EU) reduces risk on average by 13% under conservatively calibrated positive switching costs. Further, the bonus cap would have considerably reduced risk-taking incentives in most US banks that did poorly during the global financial crisis. We also show that the bonus deferral is effective if the banker is risk-averse and the switching costs are not too high.

Suggested Citation

  • Jokivuolle, Esa & Keppo, Jussi & Yuan, Xuchuan, 2015. "Bonus caps, deferrals and bankers' risk-taking," Research Discussion Papers 5/2015, Bank of Finland.
  • Handle: RePEc:bof:bofrdp:2015_005
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • G01 - Financial Economics - - General - - - Financial Crises
    • 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
    • J33 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Compensation Packages; Payment Methods
    • M52 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Personnel Economics - - - Compensation and Compensation Methods and Their Effects

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