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Seeking Alpha: Excess Risk Taking and Competition for Managerial Talent

Author

Listed:
  • Acharya, Viral V
  • Pagano, Marco
  • Volpin, Paolo

Abstract

We present a model of labor market equilibrium in which managers are risk-averse, managerial talent (‘alpha’) is scarce, and firms seek alpha, that is, compete for this talent. When managers are not mobile across firms, firms provide efficient long-term compensation, which allows for learning about managerial talent and insures low-quality managers. In contrast, when managers can move across firms, high-quality managers can fully extract the rents arising from their skill, which prevents firms from providing co-insurance among their employees. In anticipation, risk-averse managers may churn across firms before their performance is fully learnt and thereby prevent their efficient choice of projects. The result is excessive risk-taking with pay for short-term performance and build up of long-term risks. We conclude with analysis of policies to address the resulting inefficiency in firms' compensation.

Suggested Citation

  • Acharya, Viral V & Pagano, Marco & Volpin, Paolo, 2012. "Seeking Alpha: Excess Risk Taking and Competition for Managerial Talent," CEPR Discussion Papers 8905, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:8905
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Daniel Gottlieb & Kent Smetters, 2011. "Grade Non-Disclosure," NBER Working Papers 17465, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. John Y. Campbell, 2001. "Have Individual Stocks Become More Volatile? An Empirical Exploration of Idiosyncratic Risk," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 56(1), pages 1-43, February.
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    5. Ing-Haw Cheng & Harrison Hong & Jose Scheinkman, 2010. "Yesterday's Heroes: Compensation and Creative Risk-Taking," NBER Chapters,in: Market Institutions and Financial Market Risk National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    Cited by:

    1. Thanassoulis, John, 2014. "Bank pay caps, bank risk, and macroprudential regulation," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 48(C), pages 139-151.
    2. Citci, Sadettin Haluk & Inci, Eren, 2016. "The masquerade ball of the CEOs and the mask of excessive risk," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 58(C), pages 383-393.
    3. Andrew Ellul & Marco Pagano & Annalisa Scognamiglio, 2017. "Career Risk and Market Discipline in Asset Management," CSEF Working Papers 489, Centre for Studies in Economics and Finance (CSEF), University of Naples, Italy, revised 02 Apr 2018.
    4. Marco Pagano & Luca Picariello, 2017. "Talent Discovery, Layoff Risk and Unemployment Insurance," EIEF Working Papers Series 1710, Einaudi Institute for Economics and Finance (EIEF), revised May 2018.
    5. repec:oup:revfin:v:21:y:2017:i:5:p:1901-1932. is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Stijn Claessens, 2015. "An Overview of Macroprudential Policy Tools," Annual Review of Financial Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 7(1), pages 397-422, December.
    7. Sergey Chernenko & Samuel G. Hanson & Adi Sunderam, 2014. "The Rise and Fall of Demand for Securitizations," NBER Working Papers 20777, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. 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).
    9. Jen-Wen Chang & Simpson Zhang, 2018. "Competitive Pay and Excessive Manager Risk-taking," Working Papers 18-02, Office of Financial Research, US Department of the Treasury.
    10. 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.
    11. Roland Bénabou & Jean Tirole, 2016. "Bonus Culture: Competitive Pay, Screening, and Multitasking," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 124(2), pages 305-370.
    12. Acharya, Sushant & Pedraza, Alvaro, 2015. "Asset price effects of peer benchmarking: evidence from a natural experiment," Staff Reports 727, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
    13. repec:kap:regeco:v:53:y:2018:i:2:d:10.1007_s11149-018-9352-3 is not listed on IDEAS
    14. Marco Pagano, 2014. "Dealing with Financial Crises: How Much Help from Research?," CSEF Working Papers 361, Centre for Studies in Economics and Finance (CSEF), University of Naples, Italy.
    15. Ferreira, Daniel & Nikolowa, Radoslawa, 2017. "Adverse Selection and Assortative Matching in Labor Markets," CEPR Discussion Papers 11869, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    16. Diego d'Andria, 2016. "Employed inventors, inter-firm mobility, bonus pay with multi-stage R&D processes, and optimal innovation policy," JRC Working Papers on Taxation & Structural Reforms 2016-02, Joint Research Centre (Seville site).
    17. 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.
    18. repec:eee:tefoso:v:127:y:2018:i:c:p:38-56 is not listed on IDEAS
    19. Boustanifar, Hamid & Grant, Everett & Reshef, Ariell, 2016. "Wages and human capital in finance: international evidence, 1970-2005," Globalization and Monetary Policy Institute Working Paper 266, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas.
    20. Daniel Ferreira & Radoslawa Nikolowa, 2015. "Misallocation of Talent in Competitive Labor Markets," Working Papers 740, Queen Mary University of London, School of Economics and Finance.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    executive compensation; managerial talent; managerial turnover; short-termism;

    JEL classification:

    • D62 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Externalities
    • G32 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Financing Policy; Financial Risk and Risk Management; Capital and Ownership Structure; Value of Firms; Goodwill
    • G38 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Government Policy and Regulation
    • J33 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Compensation Packages; Payment Methods

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