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Work hard, not smart: Stock options in executive compensation

  • Barron, John M.
  • Waddell, Glen R.

This paper examines the optimal equity compensation for executives. When executives choose a level of effort to devote to gathering information and a criterion for acting on the information gathered, the optimal exercise price involves a trade-off; a higher exercise price moves the executive's decision criterion away from first-best but provides leverage that moves the executive's effort toward first-best. This trade-off depends on a variety of factors, including the potential influence of decisions on firm value. We document empirical regularities consistent with the theory such as that options are relatively less prevalent in the equity compensation of more-senior executives.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization.

Volume (Year): 66 (2008)
Issue (Month): 3-4 (June)
Pages: 767-790

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Handle: RePEc:eee:jeborg:v:66:y:2008:i:3-4:p:767-790
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/jebo

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  13. 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.
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  19. Hirshleifer, David & Suh, Yoon, 1992. "Risk, managerial effort, and project choice," Journal of Financial Intermediation, Elsevier, vol. 2(3), pages 308-345, September.
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  23. Campbell, Tim S. & Chan, Yuk-Shee & Marino, Anthony M., 1989. "Incentive contracts for managers who discover and manage investment projects," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 12(3), pages 353-364, December.
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  25. 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-.
  26. Bryan, Stephen & Hwang, LeeSeok & Lilien, Steven, 2000. "CEO Stock-Based Compensation: An Empirical Analysis of Incentive-Intensity, Relative Mix, and Economic Determinants," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 73(4), pages 661-93, October.
  27. Sah, Raaj Kumar & Stiglitz, Joseph E, 1988. "Committees, Hierarchies and Polyarchies," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 98(391), pages 451-70, June.
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