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Firm Volatility and Stock Option Incidence


  • Campbell, Benjamin A.


In this paper, I present two models that describe the relationship between stock option incidence and stock price volatility. First, I present an industry-clockspeed human resources (HR) model. Firms in industries where products obsolesce quickly will grant stock options to motivate employees to exert high e.ort and shorten the product development cycle, which increases volatility of .rm performance. In the second approach, I present a model of cash-constrained .rms, where .rm stock price volatility is positively related to borrowing costs. If borrowing costs increase with performance volatility and risk, .rms will stock options to conserve cash. Using the IT data, I .nd that option incidence is positively related to .rm volatility, which is consistent with the implications of both models, while the relationship between options incidence and .rm size and wages is more consistent with the Clockspeed-HR model.

Suggested Citation

  • Campbell, Benjamin A., 2003. "Firm Volatility and Stock Option Incidence," Institute for Research on Labor and Employment, Working Paper Series qt7gt1r0pn, Institute of Industrial Relations, UC Berkeley.
  • Handle: RePEc:cdl:indrel:qt7gt1r0pn

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Walsh, Frank, 1999. "A Multisector Model of Efficiency Wages," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 17(2), pages 351-376, April.
    2. Wadhwani, Sushil B & Wall, Martin, 1991. "A Direct Test of the Efficiency Wage Model Using UK Micro-data," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 43(4), pages 529-548, October.
    3. Michael Kremer, 1993. "The O-Ring Theory of Economic Development," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 108(3), pages 551-575.
    4. Black, Fischer & Scholes, Myron S, 1973. "The Pricing of Options and Corporate Liabilities," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 81(3), pages 637-654, May-June.
    5. Garen, John E, 1994. "Executive Compensation and Principal-Agent Theory," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 102(6), pages 1175-1199, December.
    6. James B. Rebitzer & Lowell J. Taylor, 1991. "A Model of Dual Labor Markets When Product Demand Is Uncertain," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 106(4), pages 1373-1383.
    7. Dickens, William T & Lang, Kevin, 1985. "A Test of Dual Labor Market Theory," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(4), pages 792-805, September.
    8. Campbell, Benjamin A., 2003. "Local Labor Market Conditions and Stock Options Incidence: A Study of the Information Technology Sector," Institute for Research on Labor and Employment, Working Paper Series qt7266d0q3, Institute of Industrial Relations, UC Berkeley.
    9. Shapiro, Carl & Stiglitz, Joseph E, 1984. "Equilibrium Unemployment as a Worker Discipline Device," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 74(3), pages 433-444, June.
    10. Edward P. Lazear, 1999. "Output-based Pay: Incentives or Sorting?," NBER Working Papers 7419, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    Stock Market; Stock Options;


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