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An Empirical Examination of Economic Determinants of Financial CEO Compensation: A Comparative Study on Pre- and Post-Financial Crisis Periods

Advances in Management Accounting

ISBN: 978-1-78973-278-8, eISBN: 978-1-78973-277-1

Publication date: 16 July 2019


The purpose of this study is to conduct a comparative analysis of the economic determinants of the compensation for chief executive officers (CEOs) between the pre- and post-financial crisis periods. To conduct the comparative analysis, the authors consider five years before and five years after the financial crisis of 2008. The authors use the data from the US financial service institutions and run separate regressions for the pre- and post-crisis periods to check if there is any significant difference in the economic determinants of executive compensation before and after the financial crisis. The authors find that total compensation and its incentive components decreased significantly in the post-crisis period. In the pre-crisis period, total compensation was determined by stock performance, accounting profit, growth, and leverage, whereas in the post-crisis period stock returns and leverage are the major factors influencing total compensation. The authors also find that firms’ leverage negatively influences the sensitivity of the pay for performance, but the influence of leverage on pay for performance is weaker in the post-crisis period. Our research is significant in the context of the US economy, the regulatory reforms of financial institutions, and the perspectives of the executive compensations. This is the first study that compares the relationship between compensation and firm performance over the pre- and post-crisis periods. It is an explicit attempt to develop a theoretical understanding of the compensation/performance relationship for the financial industry, which is blamed for the financial crisis and is affected by the Dodd–Frank regulation after the crisis.




The authors would like to express sincere appreciation for helpful comments suggested by anonymous reviewers and Mary Malina, Editor. The authors also like to acknowledge comments provided by the participants in Jack Welch College of Business Research Forum, Sacred Heart University and Research Insight Session of the 2017 American Accounting Association of Management Accounting Section.


Malik, M. and Shim, E.D. (2019), "An Empirical Examination of Economic Determinants of Financial CEO Compensation: A Comparative Study on Pre- and Post-Financial Crisis Periods", Burney, L.L. and Malina, M.A. (Ed.) Advances in Management Accounting (Advances in Management Accounting, Vol. 31), Emerald Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 23-53.



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