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How do Quasi-Random Option Grants Affect CEO Risk-Taking?

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  • Kelly Shue
  • Richard Townsend

Abstract

We examine how an increase in stock option grants affects CEO risk-taking. The overall net effect of option grants is theoretically ambiguous for risk-averse CEOs. To overcome the endogeneity of option grants, we exploit institutional features of multi-year compensation plans, which generate two distinct types of variation in the timing of when large increases in new at-the-money options are granted. We find that, given average grant levels during our sample period, a 10 percent increase in new options granted leads to a 2.8–4.2 percent increase in equity volatility. This increase in risk is driven largely by increased leverage.

Suggested Citation

  • Kelly Shue & Richard Townsend, 2017. "How do Quasi-Random Option Grants Affect CEO Risk-Taking?," NBER Working Papers 23091, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:23091
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. repec:oup:revfin:v:21:y:2017:i:5:p:1805-1846. is not listed on IDEAS
    2. repec:eee:corfin:v:47:y:2017:i:c:p:131-150 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. repec:oup:rfinst:v:21:y:2017:i:5:p:1805-1846. is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • G3 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance
    • J3 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs
    • M12 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Business Administration - - - Personnel Management; Executives; Executive Compensation
    • M52 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Personnel Economics - - - Compensation and Compensation Methods and Their Effects

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