IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Financial sector compensation and excess risk-taking—a consideration of the issues and policy lessons


  • Krishnan Sharma


This paper surveys the ways that the structure and magnitude of financial sector compensation can generate incentives for excessive risk taking. It also highlights the underlying economic and institutional forces that have underpinned and sustained these pay structures, including aspects of corporate governance in financial institutions, regulatory capture by financial elites, the nature of the labour market for finance professionals and the extended economic boom of the 1990s and 2000s. The measures endorsed by the Financial Stability Board and the G20 for sound compensation practices do not go far enough in several areas; a broader set of measures need consideration.

Suggested Citation

  • Krishnan Sharma, 2012. "Financial sector compensation and excess risk-taking—a consideration of the issues and policy lessons," Working Papers 115, United Nations, Department of Economics and Social Affairs.
  • Handle: RePEc:une:wpaper:115

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Thomas Philippon & Ariell Reshef, 2009. "Wages and Human Capital in the U.S. Financial Industry: 1909-2006," NBER Working Papers 14644, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Kempf, Alexander & Ruenzi, Stefan & Thiele, Tanja, 2009. "Employment risk, compensation incentives, and managerial risk taking: Evidence from the mutual fund industry," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(1), pages 92-108, April.
    3. Jeffrey M. Lacker, 2009. "What Lessons Can We Learn from the Boom and Turmoil?," Cato Journal, Cato Journal, Cato Institute, vol. 29(1), pages 53-63, Winter.
    4. Raghuram G. Rajan, 2005. "Has financial development made the world riskier?," Proceedings - Economic Policy Symposium - Jackson Hole, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, issue Aug, pages 313-369.
    5. James Crotty, 2010. "The Bonus-Driven “Rainmaker” Financial Firm: How These Firms Enrich Top Employees, Destroy Shareholder Value and Create Systemic Financial Instability (revised)," Working Papers wp209_revised3, Political Economy Research Institute, University of Massachusetts at Amherst.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item


    financial market compensation; financial institutions; excess risk-taking; magnitude and structure of pay; governance of compensation; labour market mobility; regulation;

    JEL classification:

    • G1 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets
    • G2 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services
    • G3 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance
    • G28 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Government Policy and Regulation
    • M52 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Personnel Economics - - - Compensation and Compensation Methods and Their Effects
    • J63 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Turnover; Vacancies; Layoffs


    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:une:wpaper:115. 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: (Aimee Gao). General contact details of provider: .

    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 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.

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

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.