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The Pay to Performance Incentives of Executive Stock Options

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  • Brian J. Hall

Abstract

Detailed data about stock option contracts are used to measure and analyze the pay to performance incentives of executive stock options. Two main issues are addressed. The first is the pay to performance incentives created by the revaluation of stock option holdings. The findings suggest that if CEO stock holdings were replaced by the same ex ante value of stock options, the pay to performance sensitivity of the median CEO would approximately double. Relative to granting at the money options, a value neutral policy of regularly granting options out of the money would increase pay to performance sensitivity by approximately 27 percent. The second issue is the pay to performance created by yearly stock option grants. Because most stock option plans are multi year plans, it is shown that different option granting plans have significantly different pay to performance incentives since changes in current stock prices affect the value of future option grants in different ways. Four option granting policies are compared and contrasted. Ranked from highest powered to lowest powered, these policies are: 1) LBO-style up-front options, 2) fixed number policies, 3) fixed value policies, and 4) an (unofficial) policy of back-door repricing.' Empirical evidence suggests that (even ignoring the revaluation of past option grants) the pay to performance relationship in practice is stronger for 1) stock option grants relative to salary and bonus, and 2) fixed number plans relative to non-fixed number plans.

Suggested Citation

  • Brian J. Hall, 1998. "The Pay to Performance Incentives of Executive Stock Options," NBER Working Papers 6674, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:6674
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    Cited by:

    1. Mónica Melle, 2005. "¿Cómo valora el mercado de valores español la adopción de planes de opciones sobre acciones para directivos y consejeros?," Investigaciones Economicas, Fundación SEPI, vol. 29(1), pages 73-115, January.
    2. Garner, Jacqueline L. & Kim, Won Yong, 2013. "Are foreign investors really beneficial? Evidence from South Korea," Pacific-Basin Finance Journal, Elsevier, vol. 25(C), pages 62-84.
    3. Supanvanij, Janikan & Strauss, Jack, 2010. "Corporate derivative use and the composition of CEO compensation," Global Finance Journal, Elsevier, vol. 21(2), pages 170-185.
    4. Derek Jones & Panu Kalmi & Mikko Mäkinen, 2010. "The productivity effects of stock option schemes: evidence from Finnish panel data," Journal of Productivity Analysis, Springer, vol. 33(1), pages 67-80, February.
    5. Jenter, Dirk, 2004. "Executive Compensation, Incentives, and Risk," Working papers 4466-02, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Sloan School of Management.
    6. David Nash, 2003. "Determinants of the use of financial incentives in investment banking," Working Papers wp256, Centre for Business Research, University of Cambridge.
    7. J. Nellie Liang & Scott Weisbenner, 2001. "Who benefits from a bull market? an analysis of employee stock option grants and stock prices," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2001-57, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    8. Jones, Derek C. & Kalmi, Panu & Mäkinen, Mikko, 2004. "The Determinants of Stock Option Compensation: Evidence from Finland," Discussion Papers 957, The Research Institute of the Finnish Economy.
    9. Chongwoo Choe, 2006. "Optimal CEO Compensation: Some Equivalence Results," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 24(1), pages 171-201, January.
    10. Johnson, Shane A. & Tian, Yisong S., 2000. "The value and incentive effects of nontraditional executive stock option plans," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 57(1), pages 3-34, July.
    11. George P. Baker & Brian J. Hall, 1998. "CEO Incentives and Firm Size," NBER Working Papers 6868, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    12. Yacine Belghitar & Ephraim A. Clark, 2012. "The Effect of CEO Risk Appetite on Firm Volatility: An Empirical Analysis of Financial Firms☆," International Journal of the Economics of Business, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 19(2), pages 195-211, July.
    13. Thierry Poulain-Rehm, 2003. "Stock-options, décisions financières des dirigeants et création de valeur de l'entreprise:le cas français," Revue Finance Contrôle Stratégie, revues.org, vol. 6(3), pages 79-116, September.
    14. Carter, Mary Ellen & Lynch, Luann J., 2001. "An examination of executive stock option repricing," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 61(2), pages 207-225, August.
    15. Delaney, Laura & Thijssen, Jacco J.J., 2015. "The impact of voluntary disclosure on a firm’s investment policy," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 242(1), pages 232-242.
    16. Lena Tsipouri & Manolis Xanthakis, 2004. "Can Corporate Governance be Rated? Ideas based on the Greek experience," Corporate Governance: An International Review, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 12(1), pages 16-28, January.

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