Risk aversion and block exercise of executive stock options
AbstractIt is well documented that executives granted stock options tend to exercise early and in a few large transactions or 'blocks'. Standard risk-neutral valuation models cannot explain these patterns, and attempts to capture the exercise behavior of risk averse executives have been limited to the special case of one option. This paper solves for the optimal exercise behavior for a risk averse executive who is granted multiple stock options. We show that utility-based models do not predict block exercise behavior. Rather, the risk averse executive exercises stock options individually at a sequence of increasing price thresholds. When, in addition, the executive faces frictions such as costly exercise, he faces a trade-off between exercising little and often to maximize return, and exercising larger quantities on fewer occasions to minimize effort. This generates realistic block exercise behavior and yields new predictions. In particular, executives should begin by exercising large blocks of options, but the block sizes should become smaller over time. Our framework also allows us to study the impact of multiple exercise dates on estimates of the cost of options to the company. We find that assuming the executive can only exercise on a single occasion underestimates the cost of the options compared with allowing for optimal exercise behavior.
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.
Bibliographic InfoArticle provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control.
Volume (Year): 33 (2009)
Issue (Month): 1 (January)
Contact details of provider:
Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/jedc
Stock options Compensation Risk aversion Incomplete markets Exercise Utility maximization;
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Chip Heath & Steven Huddart & Mark Lang, 1999. "Psychological Factors And Stock Option Exercise," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 114(2), pages 601-627, May.
- M. R. Grasselli, 2005. "Nonlinearity, correlation and the valuation of employee stock options," Papers math/0511234, arXiv.org.
- Acharya, Viral V. & John, Kose & Sundaram, Rangarajan K., 2000.
"On the optimality of resetting executive stock options,"
Journal of Financial Economics,
Elsevier, vol. 57(1), pages 65-101, July.
- Viral Acharya & Kose John & Rangarajan K. Sundaram, 1999. "On the Optimality of Resetting Executive Stock Options," New York University, Leonard N. Stern School Finance Department Working Paper Seires 99-087, New York University, Leonard N. Stern School of Business-.
- Huddart, Steven & Lang, Mark, 1996. "Employee stock option exercises an empirical analysis," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 21(1), pages 5-43, February.
- Robert C. Merton, 1973. "Theory of Rational Option Pricing," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 4(1), pages 141-183, Spring.
- Merton, Robert C., 1971.
"Optimum consumption and portfolio rules in a continuous-time model,"
Journal of Economic Theory,
Elsevier, vol. 3(4), pages 373-413, December.
- R. C. Merton, 1970. "Optimum Consumption and Portfolio Rules in a Continuous-time Model," Working papers 58, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
- Philip H. Dybvig & Mark Loewenstein, 2003. "Employee Reload Options: Pricing, Hedging, and Optimal Exercise," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 16(1), pages 145-171.
- Murphy, Kevin J., 1999. "Executive compensation," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 38, pages 2485-2563 Elsevier.
- Core, John E. & Guay, Wayne R., 2001. "Stock option plans for non-executive employees," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 61(2), pages 253-287, August.
- Kahl, Matthias & Liu, Jun & Longstaff, Francis A., 2003.
"Paper millionaires: how valuable is stock to a stockholder who is restricted from selling it?,"
Journal of Financial Economics,
Elsevier, vol. 67(3), pages 385-410, March.
- Matthias Kahl & Jun Liu & Francis A. Longstaff, 2002. "Paper millionaires: How valuable is stock to a stockholder who is restricted from selling it?," NBER Working Papers 8969, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Bettis, J. Carr & Bizjak, John M. & Lemmon, Michael L., 2001. "Managerial Ownership, Incentive Contracting, and the Use of Zero-Cost Collars and Equity Swaps by Corporate Insiders," Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, Cambridge University Press, vol. 36(03), pages 345-370, September.
- Huddart, Steven, 1994. "Employee stock options," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(2), pages 207-231, September.
- Detemple, Jerome & Sundaresan, Suresh, 1999. "Nontraded Asset Valuation with Portfolio Constraints: A Binomial Approach," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 12(4), pages 835-72.
- Hemmer, Thomas & Matsunaga, Steve & Shevlin, Terry, 1996. "The influence of risk diversification on the early exercise of employee stock options by executive officers," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 21(1), pages 45-68, February.
- Bettis, J. Carr & Bizjak, John M. & Lemmon, Michael L., 2005. "Exercise behavior, valuation, and the incentive effects of employee stock options," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 76(2), pages 445-470, May.
- Sircar, Ronnie & Xiong, Wei, 2007. "A general framework for evaluating executive stock options," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 31(7), pages 2317-2349, July.
- Henderson, Vicky & Hobson, David, 2007. "Horizon-unbiased utility functions," Stochastic Processes and their Applications, Elsevier, vol. 117(11), pages 1621-1641, November.
- Aboody, David, 1996. "Market valuation of employee stock options," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(1-3), pages 357-391, October.
- Eli Ofek & David Yermack, 2000. "Taking Stock: Equity-Based Compensation and the Evolution of Managerial Ownership," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 55(3), pages 1367-1384, 06.
- Vicky Henderson, 2005. "The impact of the market portfolio on the valuation, incentives and optimality of executive stock options," Quantitative Finance, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 5(1), pages 35-47.
Blog mentionsAs found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
- Eikseth, Hans Marius & Lindset, Snorre, 2011. "Backdating executive stock options--An ex ante valuation," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 35(10), pages 1731-1743, October.
- Vicky Henderson & Gechun Liang, 2011. "A Multidimensional Exponential Utility Indifference Pricing Model with Applications to Counterparty Risk," Papers 1111.3856, arXiv.org, revised May 2014.
- Carpenter, Jennifer N. & Stanton, Richard & Wallace, Nancy, 2010. "Optimal exercise of executive stock options and implications for firm cost," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 98(2), pages 315-337, November.
- Bahaji, Hamza, 2014. "Are Employee Stock Option Exercise Decisions Better Explained through the Prospect Theory?," Economics Papers from University Paris Dauphine 123456789/13098, Paris Dauphine University.
- Bahaji, Hamza, 2012. "Cumulative Prospect Theory, employee exercise behaviour and stock options cost assessment," Economics Papers from University Paris Dauphine 123456789/9550, Paris Dauphine University.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Zhang, Lei).
If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.
If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.
If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.
Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.