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Executive pay disparity and cost of debt financing

Executive pay disparity and cost of debt financing This paper aims to examine the relationship between executive pay disparity and the cost of debt.Design/methodology/approachThe authors use a sample of syndicated bank loans granted to United States (US) listed firms from 1992 to 2014 and adopt the loan yield spread (Chief Executive Officer (CEO) pay slice) as the main proxy for the cost of debt (executive pay disparity). The authors also use the Heckman two-stage model to address the sample selection bias and the two-stage least squares and propensity score matching methods to control the potential endogeneity issues. To test different views about executive pay disparity, the authors adopt the cash-to-stock ratio to proxy for managerial risk-shifting incentives.FindingsThe authors find that the cost of debt is significantly higher for firms with larger executive pay disparity, which is robust to sample selection bias, endogeneity concerns, alternative measures and various controls. This positive relationship increases with the risk-shifting incentives of CEOs instead of other top executives, which supports the managerial power view, and is stronger for firms with higher levels of financial distress. The findings suggest that creditors view executive pay disparity are associated with higher credit risk and CEO entrenchment.Originality/valueThis paper reveals one “dark” side of executive pay disparity: it increases the cost of debt and identifies a significant role played by CEOs' risk-shifting incentives. The authors provide direct evidence of the relevance of pay differential to corporate credit analysis. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png International Journal of Managerial Finance Emerald Publishing

Executive pay disparity and cost of debt financing

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References (93)

Publisher
Emerald Publishing
Copyright
© Emerald Publishing Limited
ISSN
1743-9132
DOI
10.1108/ijmf-04-2022-0192
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

This paper aims to examine the relationship between executive pay disparity and the cost of debt.Design/methodology/approachThe authors use a sample of syndicated bank loans granted to United States (US) listed firms from 1992 to 2014 and adopt the loan yield spread (Chief Executive Officer (CEO) pay slice) as the main proxy for the cost of debt (executive pay disparity). The authors also use the Heckman two-stage model to address the sample selection bias and the two-stage least squares and propensity score matching methods to control the potential endogeneity issues. To test different views about executive pay disparity, the authors adopt the cash-to-stock ratio to proxy for managerial risk-shifting incentives.FindingsThe authors find that the cost of debt is significantly higher for firms with larger executive pay disparity, which is robust to sample selection bias, endogeneity concerns, alternative measures and various controls. This positive relationship increases with the risk-shifting incentives of CEOs instead of other top executives, which supports the managerial power view, and is stronger for firms with higher levels of financial distress. The findings suggest that creditors view executive pay disparity are associated with higher credit risk and CEO entrenchment.Originality/valueThis paper reveals one “dark” side of executive pay disparity: it increases the cost of debt and identifies a significant role played by CEOs' risk-shifting incentives. The authors provide direct evidence of the relevance of pay differential to corporate credit analysis.

Journal

International Journal of Managerial FinanceEmerald Publishing

Published: Oct 24, 2023

Keywords: Executive pay disparity; Cost of debt; Financial distress; Risk-shifting incentives

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