Executive stock options and systemic risk
Posted: 18 Oct 2021
Date Written: October 14, 2021
Employing a novel control function regression method that accounts for the endogenous matching of banks and executives, we find that equity portfolio vega, the sensitivity of executives' equity portfolio value to their firms' stock return volatility, leads to systemic risk that manifests during subsequent economic contractions but not expansions. We further find that vega encourages systemically risky policies, including maintaining lower common equity Tier 1 capital ratios, relying on more run-prone debt financing, and making more procyclical investments. Collectively, our evidence suggests that executives' incentive-compensation contracts promote systemic risk-taking through banks' lending, investing, and financing practices.
Keywords: Executive compensation; Equity incentives; Systemic risk; Business cycles
JEL Classification: E32, G21, G32, J33
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