Document Type


Publication Date

Winter 2018


incentives; capital structure


Purpose: This paper aims to examine jointly the CEO inside debt and firm debt to further investigate the compensation incentives on risky decision-making and the resulting financial policy decisions concerning the debt structure of the firm.

Design/methodology/approach: Using S&P 1500 data from CRSP, Compustat, Execucomp and Capital IQ between 2006 and 2011, statistical analysis and regression models are used to determine potential correlations between the variable of interest, inside debt and debt control variables, including specialization.

Findings: Firms with high inside debt specialize in commercial loans and drawn credit lines. Larger firms diversify their debt holdings among commercial instruments and senior bonds. As firm size increases with inside debt, the effects are counteracted. Larger firms with high CEO inside debt have lower interest rates on these debt instruments and shorter maturities, suggesting a more conservative financing policy with regards to debt.

Research limitations/implications: Debt diversification is partially affected by compensation in the form of inside debt. Future studies of debt diversification should include CEO compensation controls.

Practical implications: For struggling companies or for those that want to return to a conservative financial policy, they can influence the CEO to make this decision by deferring his compensation to retirement.

Originality/value: This paper considers debt policy through the lens of a key decision maker, the CEO, and uses compensation as an incentive to determine what choices are made concerning debt.


This is an author-accepted manuscript submitted to Emerald Publishing. The published version is available at

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© Emerald Publishing Limited 2018 This author-accepted manuscript is shared here in compliance with Emerald Publishing's self-archiving policies.


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