Les salaires des banquiers sont-ils vraiment la cause de la crise ?

CHICAGO – Les systèmes de rémunération des institutions financières sont aujourd’hui accusés d’être l’une des principales causes de la récente crise financière mondiale. Plafonner les salaires des banquiers serait la solution. Mais qu’en est-il en réalité ?

Avant d’adopter une réglementation contraignante, nous devons déterminer si les systèmes précédents de rémunération ont vraiment été les catalyseurs des problèmes récents. Dans l’affirmative, trois hypothèses s’imposent : les dirigeants des principales banques ont été récompensés pour leur performance à court terme par de fortes primes payées d’avance ; ces mêmes dirigeants ne détenaient pas suffisamment d’actions pour aligner leurs intérêts avec ceux des actionnaires ; et les dirigeants avec la plus forte rémunération sur le court terme et détenant le moins d’actions devraient avoir eu la plus forte incitation pour prendre des risques excessifs, et devraient donc avoir eu la plus mauvaise performance durant la crise.

Deux économistes, Rudiger Fahlenbrach et Rene Stulz, ont testé ces hypothèses en étudiant les revenus des PDG de près de 100 institutions financières entre 2006 et 2008. Ils ont choisi 2006 comme point de départ, parce qu’il semble que ce soit à ce moment-là que certaines institutions financières ont commencé à prendre les positions à risque qui ont provoqué la crise.

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