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Looking beyond the CEO: executive compensation at banks

Author

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  • Rebecca Demsetz
  • Marc R. Saidenberg

Abstract

The literature on executive compensation at banks has proceeded largely under the assumption that a single elasticity can adequately describe the sensitivity of executive pay to firm performance, but theories of performance based pay and tournament pay suggest that this assumption may be incorrect. We test the single-elasticity assumption by comparing the components of compensation and the pay-performance relationship across banks with different characteristics and bank executives of different positions. We find that the structure of compensation varies significantly across firms, with firm size being an important explanatory firm characteristic. The structure of compensation also varies across executive positions, but only after controlling for differences across firms. These patterns translate into significant differences in pay-performance relationships across firms, with size being the distinguishing firm characteristic. Differences across executives are less robust. There is some evidence that CEO stature enhances pay-performance sensitivity at the largest banks in our sample, but the non-base pay components of CEO compensation are apparently less performance sensitive than their labels would suggest.

Suggested Citation

  • Rebecca Demsetz & Marc R. Saidenberg, 1999. "Looking beyond the CEO: executive compensation at banks," Staff Reports 68, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fednsr:68
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    3. Barro, Jason R & Barro, Robert J, 1990. "Pay, Performance, and Turnover of Bank CEOs," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 8(4), pages 448-481, October.
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    5. Houston, Joel F. & James, Christopher, 1995. "CEO compensation and bank risk Is compensation in banking structured to promote risk taking?," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 36(2), pages 405-431, November.
    6. Donald P. Morgan, 1998. "Judging the risk of banks: what makes banks opaque?," Research Paper 9805, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
    7. Robert Gibbons & Kevin J. Murphy, 1990. "Relative Performance Evaluation for Chief Executive Officers," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 43(3), pages 30, April.
    8. Gibbons, Robert & Murphy, Kevin J, 1992. "Optimal Incentive Contracts in the Presence of Career Concerns: Theory and Evidence," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(3), pages 468-505, June.
    9. Garen, John E, 1994. "Executive Compensation and Principal-Agent Theory," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 102(6), pages 1175-1199, December.
    10. Hubbard, R. Glenn & Palia, Darius, 1995. "Executive pay and performance Evidence from the U.S. banking industry," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 39(1), pages 105-130, September.
    11. Murphy, Kevin J., 1999. "Executive compensation," Handbook of Labor Economics,in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 38, pages 2485-2563 Elsevier.
    12. Jensen, Michael C & Murphy, Kevin J, 1990. "Performance Pay and Top-Management Incentives," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(2), pages 225-264, April.
    13. Scott Schaefer, 1998. "The Dependence Of Pay--Performance Sensitivity On The Size Of The Firm," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 80(3), pages 436-443, August.
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    Cited by:

    1. Timothy King & Jonathan Williams, 2013. "Bank Efficiency and Executive Compensation," Working Papers 13009, Bangor Business School, Prifysgol Bangor University (Cymru / Wales).
    2. repec:sgh:gosnar:y:2016:i:6:p:43-68 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. 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.
    4. Gianni De Nicolo, 2000. "Size, charter value and risk in banking: an international perspective," International Finance Discussion Papers 689, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).

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