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Do executive stock options induce excessive risk taking?

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  • Dong, Zhiyong
  • Wang, Cong
  • Xie, Fei

Abstract

We examine whether executive stock options can induce excessive risk taking by managers in firms' security issue decisions. We find that CEOs whose wealth is more sensitive to stock return volatility due to their option holdings are more likely to choose debt over equity as a capital-raising vehicle. More importantly, the pattern holds not only in firms that are underlevered relative to their optimal capital structure but also in overlevered firms. This evidence is inconsistent with executive stock options aligning the interests of managers and shareholders; rather, it supports the hypothesis that stock options sometimes make managers take on too much risk and in the process pursue suboptimal capital structure policies.

Suggested Citation

  • Dong, Zhiyong & Wang, Cong & Xie, Fei, 2010. "Do executive stock options induce excessive risk taking?," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 34(10), pages 2518-2529, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jbfina:v:34:y:2010:i:10:p:2518-2529
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    1. Citci, Sadettin Haluk & Inci, Eren, 2016. "The masquerade ball of the CEOs and the mask of excessive risk," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 58(C), pages 383-393.
    2. repec:eee:jbfina:v:88:y:2018:i:c:p:225-240 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Susana Álvarez-Díez & J. Baixauli-Soler & María Belda-Ruiz, 2014. "Are we using the wrong letters? An analysis of executive stock option Greeks," Central European Journal of Operations Research, Springer;Slovak Society for Operations Research;Hungarian Operational Research Society;Czech Society for Operations Research;Österr. Gesellschaft für Operations Research (ÖGOR);Slovenian Society Informatika - Section for Operational Research;Croatian Operational Research Society, vol. 22(2), pages 237-262, June.
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    5. Jiraporn, Pornsit & Chatjuthamard, Pattanaporn & Tong, Shenghui & Kim, Young Sang, 2015. "Does corporate governance influence corporate risk-taking? Evidence from the Institutional Shareholders Services (ISS)," Finance Research Letters, Elsevier, vol. 13(C), pages 105-112.
    6. Kim, Kyonghee & Patro, Sukesh & Pereira, Raynolde, 2017. "Option incentives, leverage, and risk-taking," Journal of Corporate Finance, Elsevier, vol. 43(C), pages 1-18.
    7. Timothy King & Jonathan Williams, 2013. "Bank Efficiency and Executive Compensation," Working Papers 13009, Bangor Business School, Prifysgol Bangor University (Cymru / Wales).
    8. Mengel F. & Peeters R.J.A.P., 2015. "Do markets encourage risk-seeking behaviour?," Research Memorandum 042, Maastricht University, Graduate School of Business and Economics (GSBE).
    9. Andres Zambrano, 2015. "Motivating Informed Decisions," DOCUMENTOS CEDE 012576, UNIVERSIDAD DE LOS ANDES-CEDE.
    10. repec:bla:acctfi:v:57:y:2017:i::p:117-145 is not listed on IDEAS
    11. Hodder, James E. & Jackwerth, Jens Carsten, 2011. "Managerial responses to incentives: Control of firm risk, derivative pricing implications, and outside wealth management," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 35(6), pages 1507-1518, June.
    12. Baixauli-Soler, J. Samuel & Belda-Ruiz, Maria & Sanchez-Marin, Gregorio, 2015. "Executive stock options, gender diversity in the top management team, and firm risk taking," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 68(2), pages 451-463.
    13. Shen, Carl Hsin-han & Zhang, Hao, 2013. "CEO risk incentives and firm performance following R&D increases," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 37(4), pages 1176-1194.

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