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Corporate Cash Holdings and CEO Compensation Incentives

39 Pages Posted: 24 Oct 2009 Last revised: 16 Dec 2010

Yixin Liu

University of New Hampshire

David C. Mauer

University of North Carolina at Charlotte

Date Written: October 25, 2010

Abstract

We examine the effect of CEO compensation incentives on corporate cash holdings and the value of cash to better understand how compensation incentives designed to enhance the alignment of manager and shareholder interests may influence stockholder-bondholder conflicts. We find a positive relation between CEO risk-taking (vega) incentives and cash holdings, and we find a negative relation between vega and the value of cash to shareholders. The negative effect of vega on the value of cash is robust after controlling for corporate governance, is stronger in firms with high leverage, is reversed for unlevered firms, and is not present in financially constrained firms. We also find that the likelihood of liquidity covenants in new bank loans is increasing in CEO vega incentives. Our evidence primarily supports the costly contracting hypothesis, which asserts that bondholders anticipate greater risk-taking in high vega firms and therefore require greater liquidity.

Keywords: Cash Holdings, Value of Cash, Managerial Incentives

JEL Classification: G30, G32, G34

Suggested Citation

Liu, Yixin and Mauer, David C., Corporate Cash Holdings and CEO Compensation Incentives (October 25, 2010). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1492468 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1492468

Yixin Liu

University of New Hampshire ( email )

Durham, NH 03824
United States
603-862-3357 (Phone)

David C. Mauer (Contact Author)

University of North Carolina at Charlotte ( email )

9201 University City Boulevard
Charlotte, NC 28223
United States
704-687-7707 (Phone)

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