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The Impact of Employee Stock Options on the Evolution of Compensation in the 1990s

  • Hamid Mehran
  • Joseph Tracy

Between 1995 and 1998, actual growth in nominal compensation per hour (CPH) accelerated from approximately 2 percent to 5 percent. Yet as labor markets continued to tighten in 1999, the growth in CPH paradoxically slowed. In this article, we attempt to solve this aggregate wage puzzle by exploring whether changes in pay structure - specifically, the increased use of employee stock options - can account for the behavior of CPH in the late 1990s. CPH reflects employee stock options on the date they are realized rather than on the date they are granted. When we recalculate CPH growth to reflect the value of current stock options when they are granted - rather than their value when they are realized - we find that our adjusted CPH measure accelerated in each year from 1995 to 1999.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 8353.

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Date of creation: Jul 2001
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Publication status: published as Mehran, Hamid and Joseph Tracy. "The Effect Of Employee Stock Options On The Evolution Of Compensation In The 1990s," FRB New York- Economic Policy Review, 2001, v7(3,Dec), 17-34.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:8353
Note: ME
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  1. Mehran, Hamid, 1992. "Executive Incentive Plans, Corporate Control, and Capital Structure," Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, Cambridge University Press, vol. 27(04), pages 539-560, December.
  2. Sandra E. Black & Lisa M. Lynch, 2000. "What's Driving the New Economy: The Benefits of Workplace Innovation," NBER Working Papers 7479, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Huddart, Steven & Lang, Mark, 1996. "Employee stock option exercises an empirical analysis," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 21(1), pages 5-43, February.
  4. Bizjak, John M. & Brickley, James A. & Coles, Jeffrey L., 1993. "Stock-based incentive compensation and investment behavior," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 16(1-3), pages 349-372, April.
  5. Erica L. Groshen & Mark E. Schweitzer, 1994. "The effects of inflation on wage adjustments in firm-level data: grease or sand?," Working Paper 9418, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.
  6. Brian J. Hall & Jeffrey B. Liebman, 1998. "Are CEOs Really Paid Like Bureaucrats?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 113(3), pages 653-691, August.
  7. 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.
  8. Huddart, Steven, 1994. "Employee stock options," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(2), pages 207-231, September.
  9. David Card & Dean Hyslop, 1996. "Does Inflation "Grease the Wheels of the Labor Market"?," NBER Working Papers 5538, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. David Lebow & Louise Sheiner & Larry Slifman & Martha Starr-McCluer, 1999. "Recent trends in compensation practices," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 1999-32, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  11. Kenneth J. McLaughlin, 1999. "Are nominal wage changes skewed away from wage cuts?," Review, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, issue May, pages 117-132.
  12. John, Teresa A & John, Kose, 1993. " Top-Management Compensation and Capital Structure," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 48(3), pages 949-74, July.
  13. Smith, C.W. & Watts, R.L., 1992. "The Investment Oppotunity set and Corporate Financing, Dividend and Compensation Policies," Papers 92-02, Rochester, Business - Financial Research and Policy Studies.
  14. Core, John & Guay, Wayne, 1999. "The use of equity grants to manage optimal equity incentive levels," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 28(2), pages 151-184, December.
  15. John V. Duca, 1998. "The new labor paradigm: more market-responsive rules of work and pay," Southwest Economy, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, issue May, pages 6-8, 12.
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