IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Competition for Traders and Risk


  • Bijlsma, M.
  • Boone, J.

    (Tilburg University, TILEC)

  • Zwart, Gijsbert

    (Tilburg University, TILEC)


Perverse incentives for banks' traders have played a role in the financial crisis. We study how labor market competition interacts with the structure of compensation to result in excessive risk taking. In a model with trader moral hazard and adverse selection on trader abilities, we demonstrate how banks optimally induce top traders to take more risk as competition on the labor market intensifies, even if banks internalize the costs of negative outcomes. Distorting risk‐taking incentives allows banks to reduce the surplus offered to low‐ability traders. We find that increasing bank capital requirements does not unambiguously reduce risk taking by top traders.
(This abstract was borrowed from another version of this item.)

Suggested Citation

  • Bijlsma, M. & Boone, J. & Zwart, Gijsbert, 2012. "Competition for Traders and Risk," Discussion Paper 2012-003, Tilburg University, Tilburg Law and Economic Center.
  • Handle: RePEc:tiu:tiutil:83b48d76-3339-4d21-9e44-9b78b3f6e6b7

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Besley, Tim & Ghatak, Maitreesh, 2011. "Taxation and Regulation of Bonus Pay," CEPR Discussion Papers 8532, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    2. Bruno Biais & Catherine Casamatta, 1999. "Optimal Leverage and Aggregate Investment," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 54(4), pages 1291-1323, August.
    3. John Thanassoulis, 2012. "The Case for Intervening in Bankers’ Pay," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 67(3), pages 849-895, June.
    4. Jensen, Michael C. & Meckling, William H., 1976. "Theory of the firm: Managerial behavior, agency costs and ownership structure," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 3(4), pages 305-360, October.
    5. Palomino, Frederic & Prat, Andrea, 2003. "Risk Taking and Optimal Contracts for Money Managers," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 34(1), pages 113-137, Spring.
    6. Jonathan B. Berk & Richard C. Green, 2004. "Mutual Fund Flows and Performance in Rational Markets," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 112(6), pages 1269-1295, December.
    7. Hellwig, Martin F., 2009. "A reconsideration of the Jensen-Meckling model of outside finance," Journal of Financial Intermediation, Elsevier, vol. 18(4), pages 495-525, October.
    8. John Thanassoulis, 2011. "Bankers' Pay Structure And Risk," Economics Series Working Papers 545, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
    9. Anil K. Kashyap & Raghuram G. Rajan & Jeremy C. Stein, 2008. "Rethinking capital regulation," Proceedings - Economic Policy Symposium - Jackson Hole, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, pages 431-471.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Efing, Matthias & Hau, Harald & Kampkötter, Patrick & Rochet, Jean-Charles, 2018. "Bank Bonus Pay as a Risk Sharing Contract," HEC Research Papers Series 1285, HEC Paris.
    2. Efing, Matthias & Hau, Harald & Kampkötter, Patrick & Steinbrecher, Johannes, 2015. "Incentive pay and bank risk-taking: Evidence from Austrian, German, and Swiss banks," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 96(S1), pages 123-140.
    3. Eberhard Feess & Ansgar Wohlschlegel, 2018. "Bank capital requirements and mandatory deferral of compensation," Journal of Regulatory Economics, Springer, vol. 53(2), pages 206-242, April.
    4. Roland Bénabou & Jean Tirole, 2016. "Bonus Culture: Competitive Pay, Screening, and Multitasking," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 124(2), pages 305-370.
    5. Prachi Mishra & Ariell Reshef, 2019. "How Do Central Bank Governors Matter? Regulation and the Financial Sector," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 51(2-3), pages 369-402, March.
    6. John Thanassoulis, 2012. "The Case for Intervening in Bankers’ Pay," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 67(3), pages 849-895, June.
    7. Josef Falkinger & Michel A. Habib, 2021. "Managerial discretion and shareholder capital at risk," Journal of Business Finance & Accounting, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 48(7-8), pages 1215-1245, July.
    8. Acharya, Viral & Litov, Lubomir P. & Sepe, Simone M., 2014. "Seeking Alpha, Taking Risk: Evidence from Non-executive Pay in U.S. Bank Holding Companies," Working Papers 13-18, University of Pennsylvania, Wharton School, Weiss Center.
    9. Marinovic, Iván & Povel, Paul, 2017. "Competition for talent under performance manipulation," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 64(1), pages 1-14.
    10. Adnan Velic, 2023. "Wages and the Role of Intangibles in Finance," Trinity Economics Papers tep0323, Trinity College Dublin, Department of Economics.
    11. Hamid Boustanifar & Everett Grant & Ariell Reshef, 2016. "Wages and human capital in finance: international evidence, 1970-2005," Globalization Institute Working Papers 266, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas.
    12. Jen-Wen Chang & Simpson Zhang, 2018. "Competitive Pay and Excessive Manager Risk-taking," Working Papers 18-02, Office of Financial Research, US Department of the Treasury.

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Ron Kaniel & Péter Kondor, 2013. "The Delegated Lucas Tree," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 26(4), pages 929-984.
    2. Besley, Timothy & Ghatak, Maitreesh, 2011. "Taxation and regulation of bonus pay," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 58192, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    3. Alexei Tchistyi, 2012. "Risking Other People's Money: Gambling, Limited Liability, and Optimal Incentives," 2012 Meeting Papers 1091, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    4. repec:hal:spmain:info:hdl:2441/1qrcn1mmq68brq85u06m9babnl is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Hilmer, Michael, 2013. "Fiscal treatment of managerial compensation - a welfare analysis," VfS Annual Conference 2013 (Duesseldorf): Competition Policy and Regulation in a Global Economic Order 79703, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    6. Jiri Chod & Evgeny Lyandres, 2021. "A Theory of ICOs: Diversification, Agency, and Information Asymmetry," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 67(10), pages 5969-5989, October.
    7. Barron, Daniel & Georgiadis, George & Swinkels, Jeroen M., 2020. "Optimal contracts with a risk-taking agent," Theoretical Economics, Econometric Society, vol. 15(2), May.
    8. Challe Edouard & Ragot Xavier, 2011. "Bubbles and Self-Fulfilling Crises," The B.E. Journal of Macroeconomics, De Gruyter, vol. 11(1), pages 1-38, May.
    9. Challe Edouard & Ragot Xavier, 2011. "Bubbles and Self-Fulfilling Crises," The B.E. Journal of Macroeconomics, De Gruyter, vol. 11(1), pages 1-38, May.
    10. Fabiana Gómez & Jorge Ponce, 2019. "Regulation and Bankers’ Incentives," Journal of Financial Services Research, Springer;Western Finance Association, vol. 56(3), pages 209-227, December.
    11. repec:hal:spmain:info:hdl:2441/3lkfg3dhba9dropgrremm2vv3r is not listed on IDEAS
    12. Mario Tirelli, 2021. "On the optimal investment finance of small businesses," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 56(4), pages 1639-1665, April.
    13. Francis de Véricourt & Denis Gromb, 2019. "Financing Capacity with Stealing and Shirking," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 65(11), pages 5128-5141, November.
    14. Michael Hilmer, 2014. "Too Many to Fail - How Bonus Taxation Prevents Gambling for Bailouts," Working Papers tax-mpg-rps-2014-18, Max Planck Institute for Tax Law and Public Finance.
    15. Guembel, Alexander & White, Lucy, 2014. "Good cop, bad cop: Complementarities between debt and equity in disciplining management," Journal of Financial Intermediation, Elsevier, vol. 23(4), pages 541-569.
    16. Hilmer, Michael, 2014. "Too many to fail - How bonus taxation prevents gambling for bailouts," VfS Annual Conference 2014 (Hamburg): Evidence-based Economic Policy 100552, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    17. Bruno Biais & Christophe Bisiere & Jean-Paul Decamps, 2000. "A Structural Econometric Investigation of the Agency Theory of Financial Structure," Econometric Society World Congress 2000 Contributed Papers 0817, Econometric Society.
    18. Andrea M. Buffa & Dimitri Vayanos & Paul Woolley, 2022. "Asset Management Contracts and Equilibrium Prices," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 130(12), pages 3146-3201.
    19. Aggarwal, Rajesh K. & Jorion, Philippe, 2010. "The performance of emerging hedge funds and managers," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 96(2), pages 238-256, May.
    20. Ferris, Stephen P. & Yan, Xuemin (Sterling), 2007. "Do independent directors and chairmen matter? The role of boards of directors in mutual fund governance," Journal of Corporate Finance, Elsevier, vol. 13(2-3), pages 392-420, June.
    21. Ouidad Yousfi, 2012. "Financial Capital Structure in LBO Project Under Asymmetric Information," Post-Print hal-00813878, HAL.
    22. Agarwal, Vikas & Daniel, Naveen D. & Naik, Narayan Y., 2009. "Role of managerial incentives and discretion in hedge fund performance," CFR Working Papers 04-04, University of Cologne, Centre for Financial Research (CFR).

    More about this item


    optimal contracts; remuneration policy; imperfect competition; financial institutions; risk;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • G21 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Banks; Other Depository Institutions; Micro Finance Institutions; Mortgages
    • G32 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Financing Policy; Financial Risk and Risk Management; Capital and Ownership Structure; Value of Firms; Goodwill
    • L22 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Firm Organization and Market Structure


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:tiu:tiutil:83b48d76-3339-4d21-9e44-9b78b3f6e6b7. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: Richard Broekman (email available below). General contact details of provider: .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service. RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.