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Title:Essays on the role of executive compensation in the subprime mortgage crisis and the incentive effects of executive stock options
Author(s):Sun, Yuanyuan
Director of Research:Olson, Craig A.
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Olson, Craig A.
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Aguilera, Ruth V.; Shin, Taekjin; Laschever, Ron A.
Department / Program:School of Labor & Empl. Rel.
Discipline:Human Res & Industrial Rels
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Executive Compensation
Mortgage Origination
Stock Options
Underwater Options
Abstract:This thesis examines executive compensation and consists of two chapters. The first chapter studies the relationship between executive equity incentives in banking firms and mortgage origination prior to the 2008 financial crisis, and aims at directly answering whether executive compensation in the financial sector contributed to the mortgage market meltdown in the most recent financial crisis. By constructing a unique data set of CEO compensation in a very inclusive sample of publicly-traded banks in the US from 1999 to 2005, and using comprehensive loan application records from 2000 to 2006, this study provides reliable evidence of the link between executive compensation in banking firms and the growth of high-risk mortgages that were a root cause of the financial crisis. Empirical evidence from this study shows that banks where CEOs had higher pay-for-performance sensitivities from equity compensation originated riskier mortgages, characterized by higher loan-to-income ratio, prior to the crisis. The second chapter examines firms’ new option grants in response to executive underwater options. A unique data set was constructed that contains detailed information of each option grant in CEOs’ total option portfolio at each time when firms made a new option grant. The results show that firms increased the number of new options in response to CEOs’ underwater options following the 2008 financial crisis. The number of new options increased with the number of underwater options held by CEOs, as well as the extent to which the options were underwater. In contrast, firms did not take specific measures to compensate for the intrinsic value loss from in-the-money options. The results are consistent with the previous research on option repricing, and further confirm that the new and larger options are used as an alternative to option repricing, or as a form of “backdoor repricing”, in response to executive underwater options.
Issue Date:2014-05-30
Rights Information:Copyright 2014 Yuanyuan Sun
Date Available in IDEALS:2014-05-30
Date Deposited:2014-05

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