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Employee Stock Options Incentive Effects: A Cpt-Based Model

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  • Hamza Bahaji

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    (DRM - Dauphine Recherches en Management - CNRS : UMR7088 - Université Paris Dauphine - Paris IX)

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    Abstract

    This paper examines the incentives from stock options for loss-averse employees subject to probability weighting. Employing the certainty equivalence principle, I built on insights from Cumulative Prospect Theory (CPT) to derive a continuous time model to value options from the perspective of a representative employee. Consistent with a growing body of empirical and experimental studies, the model predicts that the employee may overestimate the value of his options in-excess of their risk-neutral value. This is nevertheless in stark contrast with a common finding of standard models based on the Expected Utility Theory (EUT) framework that options value to a risk-averse undiversified employee is strictly lower than the value to risk-neutral outside investors. In particular, I proved that loss aversion and probability weighting have countervailing effects on the option subjective value. In addition, for typical setting of preferences parameters around the experimental estimates, and assuming the company is allowed to adjust existing compensation when making new stock option grants, the model predicts that incentives are maximized for strike prices set around the stock price at inception. This finding is consistent with companies' actual compensation practices that standard EUT-based models have difficulties accommodating their existence.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by HAL in its series Working Papers with number halshs-00618477.

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    Date of creation: 01 Apr 2011
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    Handle: RePEc:hal:wpaper:halshs-00618477

    Note: View the original document on HAL open archive server: http://halshs.archives-ouvertes.fr/halshs-00618477/en/
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    Related research

    Keywords: Stock options; Cumulative Prospect Theory; Incentives; Subjective value;

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    1. 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.
    2. Johnson, Shane A. & Tian, Yisong S., 2000. "The value and incentive effects of nontraditional executive stock option plans," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 57(1), pages 3-34, July.
    3. Ingolf Dittmann & Ernst Maug, 2007. "Lower Salaries and No Options? On the Optimal Structure of Executive Pay," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 62(1), pages 303-343, 02.
    4. 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.
    5. 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.
    6. Maug, Ernst & Dittmann, Ingolf, 2007. "Lower Salaries and No Options: The Optimal Structure of Executive Pay," Sonderforschungsbereich 504 Publications 07-41, Sonderforschungsbereich 504, Universität Mannheim;Sonderforschungsbereich 504, University of Mannheim.
    7. Kevin F. Hallock & Craig Olson, 2006. "The Value of Stock Options to Non-Executive Employees," NBER Working Papers 11950, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Amos Tversky & Daniel Kahneman, 1979. "Prospect Theory: An Analysis of Decision under Risk," Levine's Working Paper Archive 7656, David K. Levine.
    9. Ingolf Dittmann & Ernst Maug & Oliver Spalt, 2010. "Sticks or Carrots? Optimal CEO Compensation when Managers Are Loss Averse," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 65(6), pages 2015-2050, December.
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