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ESO compensation: The roles of default risk, employee sentiment, and insider information

  • Chang, Charles
  • Fuh, Cheng-Der
  • Hsu, Ya-Hui

This paper derives a pricing model for employee stock options (ESO) that includes default risk and considers employee sentiment. Using ESO data from 1992 to 2004, the study finds that the average executive's subjective value is about 55% of the Black-Scholes value. Only employees who over-estimate firm returns (or insiders who know that the firm is under-valued) by about 10% per annum will prefer ESOs over cash compensation. Our model also shows that work incentives offered by ESOs may be far lower than those implied by Black-Scholes but that ESOs may induce less risk-taking behavior, contrary to typical moral hazard arguments. Findings may impact relevant accounting regulations as well as compensation decisions.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Corporate Finance.

Volume (Year): 14 (2008)
Issue (Month): 5 (December)
Pages: 630-641

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Handle: RePEc:eee:corfin:v:14:y:2008:i:5:p:630-641
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  1. Nittai K. Bergman & Dirk Jenter, 2005. "Employee Sentiment and Stock Option Compensation," NBER Working Papers 11409, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Jensen, Michael C. & Meckling, William H., 1976. "Theory of the firm: Managerial behavior, agency costs and ownership structure," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 3(4), pages 305-360, October.
  3. 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.
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  8. Menachem Brenner & Rafi Eldor & Shmuel Hauser, 1999. "The Price of Options Illiquidity," New York University, Leonard N. Stern School Finance Department Working Paper Seires 99-086, New York University, Leonard N. Stern School of Business-.
  9. Brian J. Hall & Jeffrey B. Liebman, 1998. "Are CEOs Really Paid Like Bureaucrats?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 113(3), pages 653-691.
  10. Cox, John C. & Ross, Stephen A. & Rubinstein, Mark, 1979. "Option pricing: A simplified approach," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 7(3), pages 229-263, September.
  11. Ryan, Harley Jr. & Wiggins, Roy III, 2001. "The influence of firm- and manager-specific characteristics on the structure of executive compensation," Journal of Corporate Finance, Elsevier, vol. 7(2), pages 101-123, June.
  12. Holland, Larry C. & Elder, Erick M., 2006. "Employee stock options in compensation agreements: A financing explanation," Journal of Corporate Finance, Elsevier, vol. 12(2), pages 367-379, January.
  13. Huddart, Steven, 1994. "Employee stock options," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(2), pages 207-231, September.
  14. William N. Goetzmann & Alok Kumar, 2005. "Why Do Individual Investors Hold Under-Diversified Portfolios?," Yale School of Management Working Papers ysm454, Yale School of Management.
  15. Nohel, Tom & Todd, Steven, 2005. "Compensation for managers with career concerns: the role of stock options in optimal contracts," Journal of Corporate Finance, Elsevier, vol. 11(1-2), pages 229-251, March.
  16. 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.
  17. Hull, John & White, Alan, 1995. "The impact of default risk on the prices of options and other derivative securities," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 19(2), pages 299-322, May.
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