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Taxing Options: Do Ceos Respond To Favorable Tax Treatment Of Stock Options?

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  • Martin Gritsch

    () (William Patterson University)

  • Tricia Coxwell Snyder

    (William Patterson University)

Abstract

CEO stock option compensation increased tremendously during the 1990s. During this period, the spread between the marginal income and capital gains tax rates increased substantially, creating the potential for tax avoidance. Using ExecuComp data from 1992-2000, we estimate CEOs’ responsiveness to changes in these tax rates. Our findings show that an increase in the marginal income and a decrease in the capital gains tax rate create a significant increase in stock option compensation. Furthermore, the impact of the marginal income tax rate is more than twice that of the capital gains tax rate, which contradicts previous studies.

Suggested Citation

  • Martin Gritsch & Tricia Coxwell Snyder, 2007. "Taxing Options: Do Ceos Respond To Favorable Tax Treatment Of Stock Options?," Eastern Economic Journal, Eastern Economic Association, vol. 33(3), pages 343-357, Summer.
  • Handle: RePEc:eej:eeconj:v:33:y:2007:i:3:p:343-357
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    File URL: http://web.holycross.edu/RePEc/eej/Archive/Volume33/V33N3P343_357.pdf
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    1. Woodbury, Stephen A, 1983. "Substitution between Wage and Nonwage Benefits," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 73(1), pages 166-182, March.
    2. Austan Goolsbee, 2000. "What Happens When You Tax the Rich? Evidence from Executive Compensation," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 108(2), pages 352-378, April.
    3. Jonathan M. Siegel & Alan J. Auerbach, 2000. "Capital-Gains Realizations of the Rich and Sophisticated," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(2), pages 276-282, May.
    4. Mehran, Hamid, 1995. "Executive compensation structure, ownership, and firm performance," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 38(2), pages 163-184, June.
    5. Dhillon, Upinder S. & Ramirez, Gabriel G., 1994. "Employee stock ownership and corporate control: An empirical study," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 18(1), pages 9-25, January.
    6. 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.
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