Executive pay and performance: did bankers’ bonuses cause the crisis?

Paul Gregg, Sarah Jewell, Ian Tonks

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

62 Citations (SciVal)


This paper examines the pay-performance relationship between executive cash compensation (including bonuses) and company performance for a sample of large UK companies, focusing particularly on the financial services industry, since incentive misalignment has been blamed as one of the factors causing the global financial crisis of 2007–2008. Although we find that pay in the financial services sector is high, the cash-plus-bonus pay-performance sensitivity of financial firms is not significantly higher than in other sectors. Consequently, we conclude that it unlikely that incentive structures could be held responsible for inducing bank executives to focus on short-term results.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)89-122
JournalInternational Review of Finance
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2012


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