Reining in Excessive Risk Taking by Executives : Experimental Evidence
Compensation of executives by means of equity has long been seen as a means to tie executives? income to company performance, and thus as a solution to the principal-agent dilemma created by the separation of ownership and management in publicly owned companies. The overwhelming part of such equity compensation is currently provided in the form of stock-options. Recent events have however revived suspicions that the latter may induce excessive risk taking by executives. In an experiment, we find that subjects acting as executives do indeed take risks that are excessive from the perspective of shareholders if compensated through options. Comparing compensation mechanisms based on stock-options to long-term stock-ownership plans, we find that the latter significantly reduce the uptake of excessive risks by aligning the executives? interests with those of shareholders. Introducing an institutionalized accountability mechanism consisting in the requirement for executives to justify their choices in front of a shareholder reunion also reduces excessive risk taking, and appears to be even more effective than long-term stock-ownership plans. A combination of long-term stock-ownership plans and increased accountability thus seem a promising direction for reining in excessive risk taking by executives.
|Date of creation:||2010|
|Date of revision:|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: |
Phone: 33(0)472 29 30 89
Fax: 33(0)47229 30 90
Web page: http://www.gate.cnrs.fr/
More information through EDIRC
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:gat:wpaper:1006. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Nelly Wirth)
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.