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The Trouble with Stock Options

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  • Brian J. Hall
  • Kevin J. Murphy
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    Abstract

    The trouble with options is that too many options are granted to too many people. Most options are granted below the top-executive level, and options are often an inefficient way to attract, retain and motivate executives and (especially) lower-level employees. Why, then, are options so prevalent? We discuss several explanations including changes in corporate governance, reporting requirements, taxes, the bull market and managerial rent-seeking. We also offer an alternative hypothesis that we believe explains the over-use of options and several apparent puzzles: boards and managers falsely perceive stock options to be inexpensive because of accounting and cash-flow considerations.

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    File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w9784.pdf
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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 9784.

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    Date of creation: Jun 2003
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    Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:9784

    Note: CF LS PE
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    1. Espahbodi, Hassan & Strock, Elizabeth & Tehranian, Hassan, 1991. "Impact on equity prices of pronouncements related to nonpension postretirement benefits," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 14(4), pages 323-346, December.
    2. Bebchuk, Lucian Arye & Fried, Jesse, 2003. "Executive Compensation as an Agency Problem," CEPR Discussion Papers 3961, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    3. Aboody, David, 1996. "Market valuation of employee stock options," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(1-3), pages 357-391, October.
    4. Black, Fischer & Scholes, Myron S, 1973. "The Pricing of Options and Corporate Liabilities," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 81(3), pages 637-54, May-June.
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