Sticks or Carrots? Optimal CEO Compensation when Managers are Loss-Averse

46 Pages Posted: 14 Jul 2006 Last revised: 19 Dec 2010

Ingolf Dittmann

Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR) - Erasmus School of Economics (ESE); Tinbergen Institute; Erasmus Research Institute of Management (ERIM); European Corporate Governance Institute (ECGI)

Ernst G. Maug

University of Mannheim Business School; European Corporate Governance Institute (ECGI)

Oliver G. Spalt

Tilburg University - Department of Finance

Date Written: March 24, 2008

Abstract

This paper analyzes optimal executive compensation contracts when managers are loss averse. We calibrate a stylized principal-agent model to the observed contracts of 595 CEOs and show that this model can explain observed option holdings and high base salaries remarkably well for a range of parametrizations. We also derive and calibrate the general shape of the optimal contract that is increasing and convex for medium and high outcomes and drops discontinuously to the lowest possible payout for low outcomes. We identify the critical features of the loss-aversion model that render optimal contracts convex.

Keywords: Stock Options, Executive Compensation, Loss Aversion

JEL Classification: G30, M52

Suggested Citation

Dittmann, Ingolf and Maug, Ernst G. and Spalt, Oliver G., Sticks or Carrots? Optimal CEO Compensation when Managers are Loss-Averse (March 24, 2008). Journal of Finance, Vol. 65, No. 6, pp. 2015-2050, 2010 . Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=914502

Ingolf Dittmann (Contact Author)

Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR) - Erasmus School of Economics (ESE) ( email )

P.O. Box 1738
3000 DR Rotterdam, NL 3062 PA
Netherlands
+31 10 4081283 (Phone)
+31 10 4089165 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://people.few.eur.nl/dittmann/

Tinbergen Institute

P.O. Box 1738
3000 DR Rotterdam
Netherlands

Erasmus Research Institute of Management (ERIM)

P.O. Box 1738
3000 DR Rotterdam
Netherlands

European Corporate Governance Institute (ECGI) ( email )

c/o ECARES ULB CP 114
B-1050 Brussels
Belgium

Ernst G. Maug

University of Mannheim Business School ( email )

L9, 1-2
Mannheim, 68131
Germany
+49 621 181-1952 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://cf.bwl.uni-mannheim.de/de/people/maug/

European Corporate Governance Institute (ECGI)

c/o ECARES ULB CP 114
B-1050 Brussels
Belgium

Oliver G. Spalt

Tilburg University - Department of Finance ( email )

Department of Finance
Tilburg University
Tilburg, 5000 LE
Netherlands
+31 13 466 3545 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.oliverspalt.com

Paper statistics

Downloads
2,025
Rank
5,335
Abstract Views
7,176