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Stock Options and Managerial Optimal Contracts

In this paper we are concerned with the performance of stock option contracts in the provision of managerial incentives. In our simple framework, we restrict the space of contracts available to the principal to those conformed by a fixed payment and a package of call options on the firm's stock. We then offer a characterization of optimal stock option compensation schemes. As compared to the fixed payment and the option grant, we find that the strike price plays an intermediate role in the provision of insurance and incentives. We also develop some efficient algorithms for the computation of optimal contracts in which the observable outcome is drawn from a continuous distribution. These algorithms are useful to address some important issues such as the calibration of a principal-agent model, the degree of risk aversion compatible with current compensation schemes, and the performance of stock option contracts.

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Paper provided by Department of Economics, W. P. Carey School of Business, Arizona State University in its series Working Papers with number 2133304.

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Handle: RePEc:asu:wpaper:2133304
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  1. Joseph G. Haubrich, 1991. "Risk aversion, performance pay, and the principal-agent problem," Working Paper 9118, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.
  2. Edward Simpson Prescott, 1999. "A primer on moral-hazard models," Economic Quarterly, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, issue Win, pages 47-78.
  3. Jean Tirole & Jean-Jaques Laffont, 1985. "Using Cost Observation to Regulate Firms," Working papers 368, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  4. Wang, Cheng, 1997. "Incentives, CEO Compensation and Shareholder Wealth in a Dynamic Agency Model," Staff General Research Papers Archive 5170, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
  5. Hall, Brian J. & Murphy, Kevin J., 2002. "Stock options for undiversified executives," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 33(1), pages 3-42, February.
  6. Holmstrom, Bengt & Milgrom, Paul, 1987. "Aggregation and Linearity in the Provision of Intertemporal Incentives," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 55(2), pages 303-28, March.
  7. Bengt Holmstrom, 1999. "Managerial Incentive Problems: A Dynamic Perspective," NBER Working Papers 6875, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Brian J. Hall & Jeffrey B. Liebman, 1997. "Are CEOs Really Paid Like Bureaucrats?," NBER Working Papers 6213, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Gian Luca Clementi & Thomas F. Cooley, . "Sensitivity of CEO Pay to Shareholder Wealth in a Dynamic Agency Model," GSIA Working Papers 2002-E13, Carnegie Mellon University, Tepper School of Business.
  10. R. Preston McAfee & John McMillan, 1987. "Competition for Agency Contracts," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 18(2), pages 296-307, Summer.
  11. Gibbons, R. & Murphy, K.J., 1990. "Optimal Incentive Contracts In The Presence Of Career Concerns: Theory And Evidence," Working papers 563, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  12. Celentani, Marco & Caruana, Guillermo, 2001. "Career concerns and contingent compensation," UC3M Working papers. Economics we014811, Universidad Carlos III de Madrid. Departamento de Economía.
  13. Phelan, C. & Townsend, R.M., 1990. "Computing Multiperiod, Information-Constrained Optima," University of Chicago - Economics Research Center 90-13, Chicago - Economics Research Center.
  14. Prendergast, Canice & Stole, Lars, 1996. "Impetuous Youngsters and Jaded Old-Timers: Acquiring a Reputation for Learning," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 104(6), pages 1105-34, December.
  15. Page, Frank Jr., 1987. "The existence of optimal contracts in the principal-agent model," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 16(2), pages 157-167, April.
  16. Bengt Holmstrom & Joan Ricart i Costa, 1986. "Managerial Incentives and Capital Management," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 101(4), pages 835-860.
  17. Santos, Manuel S., 1999. "Numerical solution of dynamic economic models," Handbook of Macroeconomics, in: J. B. Taylor & M. Woodford (ed.), Handbook of Macroeconomics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 5, pages 311-386 Elsevier.
  18. Mehra, Rajnish & Prescott, Edward C., 1985. "The equity premium: A puzzle," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(2), pages 145-161, March.
  19. Ivilina Popova & Joseph G. Haubrich, 1998. "Executive compensation: a calibration approach," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 12(3), pages 561-581.
  20. Bengt Holmström, 1999. "Managerial Incentive Problems: A Dynamic Perspective," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 66(1), pages 169-182.
  21. Murphy, Kevin J., 1999. "Executive compensation," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 38, pages 2485-2563 Elsevier.
  22. Edward Simpson Prescott, 1998. "Computing moral-hazard problems using the Dantzig-Wolfe decomposition algorithm," Working Paper 98-06, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond.
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