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Should executive stock options be abandoned?

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  • Choe, Chongwoo
  • Yin, Xiangkang

Abstract

Recent corporate scandals around the world have led many to single out executive stock options as one of the main culprits. More corporations are abandoning stock options and reverting to restricted stock. This paper argues that such a change is not entirely justifiable. We first provide a critical review of the pros and cons of executive stock options. We then compare option-based contracts with stock-based contracts using a simple principal-agent model with moral-hazard. In a general environment without restrictions on preferences or technologies, option-based contracts are shown to weakly dominate stock-based contracts. The weak dominance relation becomes strict if the manager is risk neutral. Numerical examples are provided to show that, even if the manager is risk averse, strict dominance is more likely the case.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 13760.

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Date of creation: Dec 2006
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Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:13760

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Keywords: EXECUTIVE STOCK OPTIONS; RESTRICTED STOCK; OPTIMAL CONTRACT;

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References

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  1. Bebchuk, Lucian Arye & Fried, Jesse & Walker, David I, 2002. "Managerial Power and Rent Extraction in the Design of Executive Compensation," CEPR Discussion Papers 3558, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. Choe, Chongwoo, 2003. "Leverage, volatility and executive stock options," Journal of Corporate Finance, Elsevier, vol. 9(5), pages 591-609, November.
  3. Brenner, Menachem & Sundaram, Rangarajan K. & Yermack, David, 2000. "Altering the terms of executive stock options," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 57(1), pages 103-128, July.
  4. Paul Kerin, 2003. "Executive Compensation: Getting the Mix Right," Australian Economic Review, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, vol. 36(3), pages 324-332.
  5. Rogerson, William P, 1985. "The First-Order Approach to Principal-Agent Problems," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 53(6), pages 1357-67, November.
  6. Sanford J Grossman & Oliver D Hart, 2001. "An Analysis of the Principal-Agent Problem," Levine's Working Paper Archive 391749000000000339, David K. Levine.
  7. Kevin J. Murphy & Brian J. Hall, 2000. "Optimal Exercise Prices for Executive Stock Options," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(2), pages 209-214, May.
  8. Brian J. Hall & Kevin J. Murphy, 2000. "Stock Options for Undiversified Executives," NBER Working Papers 8052, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Paul Oyer & Scott Schaefer, 2004. "Why Do Some Firms Give Stock Options to All Employees?: An Empirical Examination of Alternative Theories," NBER Working Papers 10222, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Lisa Meulbroek, 2001. "The Efficiency of Equity-Linked Compensation: Understanding the Full Cost of Awarding Executive Stock Options," Financial Management, Financial Management Association, vol. 30(2), Summer.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. Brian J. Hall & Kevin J. Murphy, 2003. "The Trouble with Stock Options," NBER Working Papers 9784, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Jennifer Carpenter, 1999. "Does Option Compensation Increase Managerial Risk Appetite?," New York University, Leonard N. Stern School Finance Department Working Paper Seires 99-076, New York University, Leonard N. Stern School of Business-.
  15. Sandra Renfro Callaghan & P. Jane Saly & Chandra Subramaniam, 2004. "The Timing of Option Repricing," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 59(4), pages 1651-1676, 08.
  16. Choe, Chongwoo, 2001. "Maturity and exercise price of executive stock options," Review of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 10(3), pages 227-250.
  17. Brian J. Hall & Kevin J. Murphy, 2003. "The Trouble with Stock Options," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 17(3), pages 49-70, Summer.
  18. Jennifer N. Carpenter, 2000. "Does Option Compensation Increase Managerial Risk Appetite?," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 55(5), pages 2311-2331, October.
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