CEO incentives and the health of defined benefit pension plans

Joy Begley, Sandra Chamberlain, Shuo Yang, Jenny Li Zhang

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


We examine the relation between CEO pay-related wealth and the funding levels, and freezing decisions, of defined benefit pension plans. Results show that higher funding levels occur when CEOs are most endowed in employee pension plans, but that spillover endowments in supplemental executive plans coincide with the lowest funding levels. CEO equity-wealth correlates with funding health in between the extremes. Further, “hard freezes” of employee plans are less likely, the larger the CEO’s total pension interest (in executive and employee plans together). This suggests that CEOs fear repercussions to their own pension plan when employee plans are frozen.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1013-1058
Number of pages46
JournalReview of Accounting Studies
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 17 Sept 2015


  • Defined benefit plans
  • Earnings management
  • Pension plan governance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Accounting
  • General Business,Management and Accounting


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