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Stock Repurchases and Incentive Compensation

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  • Christine Jolls
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    Abstract

    A longstanding puzzle in corporate finance is the rise of stock repurchases as a means of distributing earnings to shareholders. While most attempts to explain repurchase behavior focus on the incentives of firms, this paper focuses on the incentives of the agents who run firms, as determined by those agents' compensation packages. The increased use of repurchases coincided with an increasing reliance on stock options to compensate top managers, and stock options encourage managers to choose repurchases over conventional dividend payments because repurchases, unlike dividends, do not dilute the per-share value of the stock. Consistent with the stock option hypothesis, I find that firms which rely heavily on stock-option-based compensation are significantly more likely to repurchase their stock than firms which rely less heavily on stock options to compensate their top executives. I find no such relationship between repurchases and restricted stock, an alternative form of stock-based compensation that, unlike stock options, is not diluted by dividend payments. These findings have implications for the study of other puzzles concerning firms' payout behavior, and for the study of the effects of executive compensation packages on managerial incentives.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 6467.

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    Date of creation: Mar 1998
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    Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:6467

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    1. Ofer, Aharon R & Siegel, Daniel R, 1987. " Corporate Financial Policy, Information, and Market Expectations: An Empirical Investigation of Dividends," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 42(4), pages 889-911, September.
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    8. Bartov, Eli, 1991. "Open-market stock repurchases as signals for earnings and risk changes," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 14(3), pages 275-294, September.
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    Cited by:
    1. Baker, H. Kent & Powell, Gary E. & Veit, E. Theodore, 2003. "Why companies use open-market repurchases: A managerial perspective," The Quarterly Review of Economics and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 43(3), pages 483-504.
    2. Andres, Christian & Betzer, André & Doumet, Markus & Theissen, Erik, 2013. "Open market share repurchases in Germany: A conditional event study approach," CFR Working Papers 13-02, University of Cologne, Centre for Financial Research (CFR).
    3. Scott J. Weisbenner, 2000. "Corporate share repurchases in the 1990s: what role do stock options play?," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2000-29, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    4. Jeffrey R. Brown & Nellie Liang & Scott Weisbenner, 2007. "Executive Financial Incentives and Payout Policy: Firm Responses to the 2003 Dividend Tax Cut," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 62(4), pages 1935-1965, 08.
    5. Hanlon, Michelle & Myers, James N. & Shevlin, Terry, 2003. "Dividend taxes and firm valuation:: a re-examination," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 35(2), pages 119-153, June.
    6. Mitchell, Jason D. & Dharmawan, Grace V., 2007. "Incentives for on-market buy-backs: Evidence from a transparent buy-back regime," Journal of Corporate Finance, Elsevier, vol. 13(1), pages 146-169, March.
    7. Brian J. Hall, 1998. "The Pay to Performance Incentives of Executive Stock Options," NBER Working Papers 6674, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Chan, Konan & Ikenberry, David L. & Lee, Inmoo & Wang, Yanzhi, 2010. "Share repurchases as a potential tool to mislead investors," Journal of Corporate Finance, Elsevier, vol. 16(2), pages 137-158, April.
    9. Gormley, Todd A. & Matsa, David A. & Milbourn, Todd, 2013. "CEO compensation and corporate risk: Evidence from a natural experiment," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 56(2), pages 79-101.
    10. Minnick, Kristina & Rosenthal, Leonard, 2014. "Stealth compensation: Do CEOs increase their pay by influencing dividend policy?," Journal of Corporate Finance, Elsevier, vol. 25(C), pages 435-454.
    11. de Jong, A. & van Dijk, R. & Veld, C.H., 2001. "The Dividend and Share Repurchase Policies of Canadian Firms," ERIM Report Series Research in Management ERS-2001-88-F&A, Erasmus Research Institute of Management (ERIM), ERIM is the joint research institute of the Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University and the Erasmus School of Economics (ESE) at Erasmus University Rotterdam.
    12. Eva Terberger & Stefanie Wettberg, 2005. "Der Aktienrückkauf und die Bankenkrise von 1931," Working Papers 0418, University of Heidelberg, Department of Economics, revised Mar 2005.
    13. Chuo-Hsuan Lee & Chengo Hsieh & Xiaofeng Peng, 2005. "Why do reits engage in open-market repurchases?," Journal of Economics and Finance, Springer, vol. 29(3), pages 313-320, September.
    14. Beverly Hirtle, 2001. "How do stock repurchases affect bank holding company performance?," Staff Reports 123, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
    15. Tuomo Vuolteenaho, 2001. "What Drives Firm-Level Stock Returns?," NBER Working Papers 8240, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    16. Sébastien Dereeper & Frédéric Romon, 2006. "Rachats d’actions versus dividendes:effet de substitution sur le marché boursier français?," Revue Finance Contrôle Stratégie, revues.org, vol. 9(1), pages 157-186, March.
    17. Brian J. Hall & Kevin J. Murphy, 2000. "Stock Options for Undiversified Executives," NBER Working Papers 8052, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    18. Pukthuanthong, Kuntara & Roll, Richard & Walker, Thomas, 2007. "How employee stock options and executive equity ownership affect long-term IPO operating performance," Journal of Corporate Finance, Elsevier, vol. 13(5), pages 695-720, December.
    19. Kahle, Kathleen M., 2002. "When a buyback isn't a buyback: open market repurchases and employee options," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 63(2), pages 235-261, February.
    20. Rim El Houcine & Adel Boubaker, 2014. "Share Repurchasing and the Policies of Stock-Options," International Journal of Academic Research in Accounting, Finance and Management Sciences, Human Resource Management Academic Research Society, International Journal of Academic Research in Accounting, Finance and Management Sciences, vol. 4(1), pages 175-187, January.
    21. Baker, H. Kent & Powell, Gary E. & Veit, E. Theodore, 2002. "Revisiting the dividend puzzle: Do all of the pieces now fit?," Review of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 11(4), pages 241-261.

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