What Drives CEOs to Take on More Risk? Some Evidence from the Laboratory of REITs

Journal of Applied Corporate Finance, Vol. 23, No. 1, pp. 80-94, 2011.

Posted: 28 Feb 2010 Last revised: 29 May 2013

See all articles by Roland Füss

Roland Füss

University of St. Gallen - School of Finance

Nico B. Rottke

European Business School (EBS) Wiesbaden - Department Finance, Accounting & Real Estate

Joachim Zietz

EBS University, EBS Business School

Date Written: December 20, 2010

Abstract

This paper studies the impact of CEO discretion within the incentive structure of U.S. REITs. In contrast to the existing governance literature we focus on a specific sector with a specific legal setting (e.g., restrictive payout ratios), and organizational structure (e.g., little threat of a hostile takeover) to avoid issues of heterogeneity across industries. Restricting the focus to REITs allows us to simulate CEO behavior over the life cycle of the company and to generate and test empirically some interesting hypotheses how different CEO characteristics may affect the company’s growth, its debt growth, and its performance. Testing is done on a panel of 101 U.S. equity REITs over the time period from 2003 to 2007. The empirics explicitly accounts for threshold effects in most continuous variables. The key empirical result is that a company’s debt growth, and hence its exposure to risk, is inversely related to CEO stock ownership, but positively to a combination of the CEO also serving as chairman of the board of directors and large bonus payments.

Keywords: Corporate governance, corporate performance, firm value, leverage, managerial ownership, REITs

JEL Classification: D23, G32, G38

Suggested Citation

Füss, Roland and Rottke, Nico B. and Zietz, Joachim, What Drives CEOs to Take on More Risk? Some Evidence from the Laboratory of REITs (December 20, 2010). Journal of Applied Corporate Finance, Vol. 23, No. 1, pp. 80-94, 2011.. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1558960

Roland Füss (Contact Author)

University of St. Gallen - School of Finance ( email )

Unterer Graben 21
St.Gallen, CH-9000
Switzerland
+41 (0)71 224 70 42 (Phone)
+41 (0)71 224 70 88 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.sbf.unisg.ch/en/Lehrstuehle/Lehrstuhl_Fuess.aspx

Nico B. Rottke

European Business School (EBS) Wiesbaden - Department Finance, Accounting & Real Estate ( email )

Gustav-Stresemann-Ring 3
Wiesbaden, Hessen 65189
Germany
0611-36 018 931 (Phone)
0611-36 018 902 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.rem-institute.org

Joachim Zietz

EBS University, EBS Business School ( email )

Gustav-Stresemann-Ring 3
Wiesbaden, Hessen 65189
Germany

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