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Executive compensation and risk taking

Author

Listed:
  • Patrick Bolton
  • Hamid Mehran
  • Joel Shapiro

Abstract

This paper studies the connection between risk taking and executive compensation in financial institutions. A theoretical model of shareholders, debtholders, depositors, and an executive suggests that 1) in principle, excessive risk taking (in the form of risk shifting) may be addressed by basing compensation on both stock price and the price of debt (proxied by the credit default swap spread), but 2) shareholders may be unable to commit to designing compensation contracts in this way and indeed may not want to because of distortions introduced by either deposit insurance or naive debtholders. The paper then provides an empirical analysis that suggests that debt-like compensation for executives is believed by the market to reduce risk for financial institutions.

Suggested Citation

  • Patrick Bolton & Hamid Mehran & Joel Shapiro, 2010. "Executive compensation and risk taking," Staff Reports 456, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fednsr:456
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Green, Richard C., 1984. "Investment incentives, debt, and warrants," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 13(1), pages 115-136, March.
    2. Smith, Clifford Jr. & Watts, Ross L., 1992. "The investment opportunity set and corporate financing, dividend, and compensation policies," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(3), pages 263-292, December.
    3. 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.
    4. Peña Sánchez de Rivera, Juan Ignacio & Forte, Santiago, 2006. "Credit spreads: theory and evidence about the information content of stocks, bonds and cdss," DEE - Working Papers. Business Economics. WB wb063310, Universidad Carlos III de Madrid. Departamento de Economía de la Empresa.
    5. Francis A. Longstaff & Sanjay Mithal & Eric Neis, 2005. "Corporate Yield Spreads: Default Risk or Liquidity? New Evidence from the Credit Default Swap Market," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 60(5), pages 2213-2253, October.
    6. Andrew Ellul & Vijay Yerramilli, 2010. "Stronger Risk Controls, Lower Risk: Evidence from U.S. Bank Holding Companies," NBER Chapters,in: Market Institutions and Financial Market Risk National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    8. Kose John & Yiming Qian, 2003. "Incentive features in CEO compensation in the banking industry," Economic Policy Review, Federal Reserve Bank of New York, issue Apr, pages 109-121.
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    15. Michael L. Katz, 1991. "Game-Playing Agents: Unobservable Contracts as Precommitments," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 22(3), pages 307-328, Autumn.
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    17. Roberto Blanco & Simon Brennan & Ian W. Marsh, 2005. "An Empirical Analysis of the Dynamic Relation between Investment-Grade Bonds and Credit Default Swaps," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 60(5), pages 2255-2281, October.
    18. 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 617-627, June.
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    Keywords

    Executives - Salaries ; Financial risk management ; Stock - Prices;

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