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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. 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.
  2. Christopher Phelan & Robert M Townsend, 2010. "Computing Multi-Period, Information Constrained Optima," Levine's Working Paper Archive 117, David K. Levine.
  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. Haubrich, Joseph G, 1994. "Risk Aversion, Performance Pay, and the Principal-Agent Problem," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 102(2), pages 258-76, April.
  5. Celentani, Marco & Caruana, Guillermo, 2001. "Career concerns and contingent compensation," UC3M Working papers. Economics we014811, Universidad Carlos III de Madrid. Departamento de Economía.
  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. 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.
  8. Edward Simpson Prescott, 1999. "A primer on moral-hazard models," Economic Quarterly, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, issue Win, pages 47-78.
  9. Joseph G. Haubrich & Ivilina Popova, 1994. "Executive compensation: a calibration approach," Working Paper 9416, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.
  10. Robert Gibbons & Kevin J. Murphy, 1991. "Optimal Incentive Contracts in the Presence of Career Concerns: Theory and Evidence," NBER Working Papers 3792, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. 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.
  12. R. Mehra & E. Prescott, 2010. "The equity premium: a puzzle," Levine's Working Paper Archive 1401, David K. Levine.
  13. 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.
  14. R. Preston McAfee & John McMillan, 1987. "Competition for Agency Contracts," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 18(2), pages 296-307, Summer.
  15. 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.
  16. 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.
  17. 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.
  18. 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.
  19. Edward Simpson Prescott, 1998. "Computing moral-hazard problems using the Dantzig-Wolfe decomposition algorithm," Working Paper 98-06, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond.
  20. Bengt Holmström, 1999. "Managerial Incentive Problems: A Dynamic Perspective," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 66(1), pages 169-182.
  21. 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.
  22. Bengt Holmstrom, 1999. "Managerial Incentive Problems: A Dynamic Perspective," NBER Working Papers 6875, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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