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Risk, ambiguity, and the exercise of employee stock options

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  • Izhakian, Yehuda
  • Yermack, David

Abstract

We investigate the importance of ambiguity, or Knightian uncertainty, in executives’ stock option exercise decisions. We develop an empirical estimate of ambiguity and include it in regression models alongside the traditional measure of risk, equity volatility. We show that each variable has a significant effect on the timing of option exercises, with volatility causing executives to hold options longer to preserve option value, and ambiguity increasing the tendency for executives to exercise early.

Suggested Citation

  • Izhakian, Yehuda & Yermack, David, 2017. "Risk, ambiguity, and the exercise of employee stock options," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 124(1), pages 65-85.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jfinec:v:124:y:2017:i:1:p:65-85
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jfineco.2016.12.006
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    Cited by:

    1. Marco Nieddu & Lorenzo Pandolfi, 2018. "Cutting Through the Fog: Financial Literacy and the Subjective Value of Financial Assets," CSEF Working Papers 497, Centre for Studies in Economics and Finance (CSEF), University of Naples, Italy.
    2. Izhakian, Yehuda, 2017. "Expected utility with uncertain probabilities theory," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 69(C), pages 91-103.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Ambiguity measurement; Ambiguity aversion; Employee stock options;

    JEL classification:

    • C65 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Mathematical Methods; Programming Models; Mathematical and Simulation Modeling - - - Miscellaneous Mathematical Tools
    • D81 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Criteria for Decision-Making under Risk and Uncertainty
    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness
    • G32 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Financing Policy; Financial Risk and Risk Management; Capital and Ownership Structure; Value of Firms; Goodwill

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