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Taxes on severance pay, corporate governance and golden handshakes

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  • Fabienne Llense

    () (CES - Centre d'économie de la Sorbonne - UP1 - Université Panthéon-Sorbonne - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, PSE - Paris School of Economics)

Abstract

This paper puts forward an explanation of the rapid increase in golden handshake provision in Europe over the last ten years, based on both enhanced investor protection and attractive tax codes for severance pay. This article takes up a framework in which asymmetric information about the quality of the match between CEO and firm explains the use of golden handshakes for CEOs. It shows how corporate governance and taxation can modify the magnitude and the use of golden handshakes and thus CEO turnover rates. The second-best optimal taxation rate depends on the kind of private benefits accorded to the CEO. I show that golden handshakes should be taxed in the same way as CEO incomes. However, nonpecuniary private benefits strengten the agency cost and require some transfers for firms providing parachute-type contracts. In effect, this means partial exemption. An improvement in the quality of corporate governance should lead to smaller golden handshakes, higher turnover-performance sensitivity and the disappearance of advantageous tax codes for termination pay.

Suggested Citation

  • Fabienne Llense, 2009. "Taxes on severance pay, corporate governance and golden handshakes," Université Paris1 Panthéon-Sorbonne (Post-Print and Working Papers) halshs-00441911, HAL.
  • Handle: RePEc:hal:cesptp:halshs-00441911
    Note: View the original document on HAL open archive server: https://halshs.archives-ouvertes.fr/halshs-00441911
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    Cited by:

    1. Fabel, Oliver & Kolmar, Martin, 2012. "Do parachutes discipline managers? An analysis of takeover battles," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(2), pages 224-232.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    severance pay; CEOs turnover; corporate governance; golden handshakes; optimal taxation; severance pay.; Rotation des p-dg; gouvernance d'entreprise; parachutes dorés; taxation optimale; indemnités de licenciement.;

    JEL classification:

    • G34 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Mergers; Acquisitions; Restructuring; Corporate Governance
    • H32 - Public Economics - - Fiscal Policies and Behavior of Economic Agents - - - Firm
    • J33 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Compensation Packages; Payment Methods
    • J44 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets - - - Professional Labor Markets and Occupations

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