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How do Ex-Ante Severance Pay Contracts Fit into Optimal Executive Incentive Schemes?


P. Raghavendra Rau


University of Cambridge

Jin Xu


Virginia Tech - Pamplin College of Business

November 16, 2012

Third Singapore International Conference on Finance 2009

Abstract:     
We analyze a sample of over 3,600 ex ante explicit severance pay agreements in place at 808 firms and show that firms set ex ante explicit severance pay agreements as one component in managing the optimal level of equity incentives. Younger executives are more likely to receive explicit contracts and better terms. Firms with high distress risk, high takeover probability and high return volatility are significantly more likely to enter into new or revised severance contracts. Finally, ex post payouts to managers are largely determined by the ex ante contract terms.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 54

Keywords: Managerial compensation, Severance pay, Optimal contracting

JEL Classification: G32, G34

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Date posted: March 16, 2010 ; Last revised: November 27, 2012

Suggested Citation

Rau, P. Raghavendra and Xu, Jin, How do Ex-Ante Severance Pay Contracts Fit into Optimal Executive Incentive Schemes? (November 16, 2012). Third Singapore International Conference on Finance 2009. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1571971 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1571971

Contact Information

P. Raghavendra Rau
University of Cambridge ( email )
Cambridge Judge Business School
Trumpington Street
Cambridge, Cambridgeshire CB21AG
United Kingdom
3103626793 (Phone)
HOME PAGE: http://www.raghurau.com/
Jin Xu (Contact Author)
Virginia Tech - Pamplin College of Business ( email )
Department of Finance
880 West Campus Dr
Blacksburg, VA 24061
United States
HOME PAGE: http://www.finance.pamplin.vt.edu/faculty/jx/index.html
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