CEO Optimism and Incentive Compensation


Journal of Financial Economics

November 2014, vol. 114, n°2, pp.366-404

Departments: Finance

Keywords: CEO optimism, Incentive compensation, Compensation contract

I study the effect of chief executive officer (CEO) optimism on CEO compensation. Using data on compensation in US firms, I provide evidence that CEOs whose option exercise behavior and earnings forecasts are indicative of optimistic beliefs receive smaller stock option grants, fewer bonus payments, and less total compensation than their peers. These findings add to our understanding of the interplay between managerial biases and remuneration and show how sophisticated principals can take advantage of optimistic agents by appropriately adjusting their compensation contracts