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Estimating the Cost of Executive Stock Options: Evidence from Switzerland

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  • Drobetz, Wolfgang
  • Pensa, Pascal
  • Schmid, Markus M.

Abstract

It is often argued that Black-Scholes (1973) values overstate the subjective NEWLINE value of stock options granted to risk-averse and under-diversified executives. NEWLINE We construct a “representative” Swiss executive and extend the certainty- NEWLINE equivalence approach presented by Hall and Murphy (2002) to assess NEWLINE the value-cost wedge of executive stock options. Even with low coefficients NEWLINE of relative risk aversion, the discount can be above 50% compared to the NEWLINE Black-Scholes values. Regression analysis reveals that the equilibrium level NEWLINE of executive compensation is explained by economic determinant variables NEWLINE such as firm size and growth opportunities, whereas the managers’ pay-forperformance NEWLINE sensitivity remains largely unexplained. Firms with larger NEWLINE boards of directors pay higher wages, indicating potentially unresolved NEWLINE agency conflicts. We reject the hypothesis that cross-sectional differences in NEWLINE the amount of executive pay vanish when risk-adjusted values are used as NEWLINE the dependent variable.

Suggested Citation

  • Drobetz, Wolfgang & Pensa, Pascal & Schmid, Markus M., 2007. "Estimating the Cost of Executive Stock Options: Evidence from Switzerland," Working papers 2007/17, Faculty of Business and Economics - University of Basel.
  • Handle: RePEc:bsl:wpaper:2007/17
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    Cited by:

    1. Jean Canil & Bruce Rosser, 2015. "Evidence on exercise pricing in CEO option grants in two countries," Annals of Finance, Springer, vol. 11(3), pages 383-410, November.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Managerial compensation; incentives; executive stock options; option valuation; risk aversion;

    JEL classification:

    • J33 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Compensation Packages; Payment Methods
    • G13 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Contingent Pricing; Futures Pricing
    • 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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