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Executive Compensation, Incentives, and Risk

  • Jenter, Dirk

This paper analyzes the link between equity-based compensation and created incentives by (1) deriving a measure of incentives suitable for both linear and non-linear compensation contracts, (2) analyzing the effect of risk on incentives, and (3) clarifying the role of the agent's private trading decisions in incentive creation. With option-based compensation contracts, the average pay-forperformance sensitivity is not an adequate measure of ex-ante incentives. Pay-for-performance covaries negatively with marginal utility and hence overstates the created incentives. Second, more noise in the performance measure implies that the manager is less certain about the effect of effort on performance, which in turn makes her less willing to exert effort. Finally, the private trading decisions by the manager have first-order effects on incentives. By reducing her holdings of the market asset, the manager achieves an effect similar to "indexing" the stock or option grant, making explicit indexation of the contract redundant.

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File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/1721.1/5068
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Paper provided by Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Sloan School of Management in its series Working papers with number 4466-02.

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Date of creation: 28 May 2004
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Handle: RePEc:mit:sloanp:5068
Contact details of provider: Postal: MASSACHUSETTS INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY (MIT), SLOAN SCHOOL OF MANAGEMENT, 50 MEMORIAL DRIVE CAMBRIDGE MASSACHUSETTS 02142 USA
Phone: 617-253-2659
Web page: http://mitsloan.mit.edu/
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Order Information: Postal: MASSACHUSETTS INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY (MIT), SLOAN SCHOOL OF MANAGEMENT, 50 MEMORIAL DRIVE CAMBRIDGE MASSACHUSETTS 02142 USA

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