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The Pay to Performance Incentives of Executive Stock Options

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  • Brian J. Hall
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    Abstract

    Detailed data about stock option contracts are used to measure and analyze the pay to performance incentives of executive stock options. Two main issues are addressed. The first is the pay to performance incentives created by the revaluation of stock option holdings. The findings suggest that if CEO stock holdings were replaced by the same ex ante value of stock options, the pay to performance sensitivity of the median CEO would approximately double. Relative to granting at the money options, a value neutral policy of regularly granting options out of the money would increase pay to performance sensitivity by approximately 27 percent. The second issue is the pay to performance created by yearly stock option grants. Because most stock option plans are multi year plans, it is shown that different option granting plans have significantly different pay to performance incentives since changes in current stock prices affect the value of future option grants in different ways. Four option granting policies are compared and contrasted. Ranked from highest powered to lowest powered, these policies are: 1) LBO-style up-front options, 2) fixed number policies, 3) fixed value policies, and 4) an (unofficial) policy of back-door repricing.' Empirical evidence suggests that (even ignoring the revaluation of past option grants) the pay to performance relationship in practice is stronger for 1) stock option grants relative to salary and bonus, and 2) fixed number plans relative to non-fixed number plans.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 6674.

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    Date of creation: Aug 1998
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    Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:6674

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    1. Margrabe, William, 1978. "The Value of an Option to Exchange One Asset for Another," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 33(1), pages 177-86, March.
    2. Rajesh K. Aggarwal & Andrew A. Samwick, 1999. "The Other Side of the Trade-off: The Impact of Risk on Executive Compensation," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 107(1), pages 65-105, February.
    3. Brian J. Hall & Jeffrey B. Liebman, 1998. "Are CEOs Really Paid Like Bureaucrats?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 113(3), pages 653-691, August.
    4. Jensen, Michael C & Murphy, Kevin J, 1990. "Performance Pay and Top-Management Incentives," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(2), pages 225-64, April.
    5. Carpenter, Jennifer N., 1998. "The exercise and valuation of executive stock options," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 48(2), pages 127-158, May.
    6. Robert C. Merton, 1973. "Theory of Rational Option Pricing," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 4(1), pages 141-183, Spring.
    7. Christine Jolls, 1998. "Stock Repurchases and Incentive Compensation," NBER Working Papers 6467, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Joskow, Paul L. & Rose, Nancy L. & Shepard, Andrea., 1993. "Regulatory constraints on executive compensation," Working papers 3550-93., Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Sloan School of Management.
    9. Paul L. Joskow & Nancy L. Rose, 1994. "CEO Pay and Firm Performance: Dynamics, Asymmetries, and Alternative Performance Measures," NBER Working Papers 4976, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    10. Fama, Eugene F & Jensen, Michael C, 1983. "Agency Problems and Residual Claims," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 26(2), pages 327-49, June.
    11. Lambert, Richard A. & Lanen, William N. & Larcker, David F., 1989. "Executive Stock Option Plans and Corporate Dividend Policy," Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, Cambridge University Press, vol. 24(04), pages 409-425, December.
    12. Dial, Jay & Murphy, Kevin J., 1995. "Incentives, downsizing, and value creation at General Dynamics," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 37(3), pages 261-314, March.
    13. Yermack, David, 1995. "Do corporations award CEO stock options effectively?," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 39(2-3), pages 237-269.
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    Cited by:
    1. Thierry Poulain-Rehm, 2003. "Stock-options, décisions financières des dirigeants et création de valeur de l'entreprise:le cas français," Revue Finance Contrôle Stratégie, revues.org, vol. 6(3), pages 79-116, September.
    2. Nellie Liang & Scott Weisbenner, 2001. "Who benefits from a bull market? an analysis of employee stock option grants and stock prices," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2001-57, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    3. David Nash, 2003. "Determinants of the use of financial incentives in investment banking," ESRC Centre for Business Research - Working Papers wp256, ESRC Centre for Business Research.
    4. George P. Baker & Brian J. Hall, 1998. "CEO Incentives and Firm Size," NBER Working Papers 6868, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Derek Jones & Panu Kalmi & Mikko Mäkinen, 2010. "The productivity effects of stock option schemes: evidence from Finnish panel data," Journal of Productivity Analysis, Springer, vol. 33(1), pages 67-80, February.
    6. Carter, Mary Ellen & Lynch, Luann J., 2001. "An examination of executive stock option repricing," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 61(2), pages 207-225, August.
    7. Chongwoo Choe, 2006. "Optimal CEO Compensation: Some Equivalence Results," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 24(1), pages 171-201, January.
    8. Mónica Melle, 2005. "¿Cómo valora el mercado de valores español la adopción de planes de opciones sobre acciones para directivos y consejeros?," Investigaciones Economicas, Fundación SEPI, vol. 29(1), pages 73-115, January.
    9. 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.
    10. Jones, Derek C. & Kalmi, Panu & Mäkinen, Mikko, 2004. "The Determinants of Stock Option Compensation: Evidence from Finland," Discussion Papers 957, The Research Institute of the Finnish Economy.
    11. Jenter, Dirk, 2004. "Executive Compensation, Incentives, and Risk," Working papers 4466-02, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Sloan School of Management.
    12. Garner, Jacqueline L. & Kim, Won Yong, 2013. "Are foreign investors really beneficial? Evidence from South Korea," Pacific-Basin Finance Journal, Elsevier, vol. 25(C), pages 62-84.
    13. Supanvanij, Janikan & Strauss, Jack, 2010. "Corporate derivative use and the composition of CEO compensation," Global Finance Journal, Elsevier, vol. 21(2), pages 170-185.

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