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Six Challenges in Designing Equity-Based Pay

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  • Brian J. Hall

Abstract

This paper analyzes why the primary goal of the equity-pay explosion--creating long-run ownership incentives for top executives--has often been difficult to achieve in practice. More generally, I describe six challenges in the design of equity-based pay plans and discuss potential solutions. The six challenges involve: 1. mismatched time horizons; 2. gaming; 3. the value-cost wedge'; 4. the leverage-fragility tradeoff; 5. aligning risk-taking incentives; and 6. avoiding excessive compensation. The paper also discussed the merits of stock versus options and concludes that restricted stock is often a superior form of compensation.

Suggested Citation

  • Brian J. Hall, 2003. "Six Challenges in Designing Equity-Based Pay," NBER Working Papers 9887, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:9887
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Lisa Meulbroek, 2001. "The Efficiency of Equity-Linked Compensation: Understanding the Full Cost of Awarding Executive Stock Options," Financial Management, Financial Management Association, vol. 30(2), Summer.
    2. Rajesh K. Aggarwal & Andrew A. Samwick, 1999. "The Other Side of the Trade-off: The Impact of Risk on Executive Compensation," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 107(1), pages 65-105, February.
    3. Bebchuk, Lucian Arye & Fried, Jesse & Walker, David I, 2002. "Managerial Power and Rent Extraction in the Design of Executive Compensation," CEPR Discussion Papers 3558, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    4. Cotter, James F. & Zenner, Marc, 1994. "How managerial wealth affects the tender offer process," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 35(1), pages 63-97, February.
    5. Paul A. Gompers & Andrew Metrick, 2001. "Institutional Investors and Equity Prices," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 116(1), pages 229-259.
    6. Jensen, Michael C. & Meckling, William H., 1976. "Theory of the firm: Managerial behavior, agency costs and ownership structure," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 3(4), pages 305-360, October.
    7. Robert C. Merton, 2005. "Theory of rational option pricing," World Scientific Book Chapters,in: Theory Of Valuation, chapter 8, pages 229-288 World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd..
    8. Morck, Randall & Shleifer, Andrei & Vishny, Robert W., 1988. "Management ownership and market valuation," Scholarly Articles 29407535, Harvard University Department of Economics.
    9. Mehran, Hamid, 1995. "Executive compensation structure, ownership, and firm performance," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 38(2), pages 163-184, June.
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    14. Kevin J. Murphy & Brian J. Hall, 2000. "Optimal Exercise Prices for Executive Stock Options," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(2), pages 209-214, May.
    15. Jensen, Michael C & Murphy, Kevin J, 1990. "Performance Pay and Top-Management Incentives," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(2), pages 225-264, April.
    16. Brian J. Hall & Jeffrey B. Liebman, 1998. "Are CEOs Really Paid Like Bureaucrats?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 113(3), pages 653-691.
    17. Brian J. Hall & Jeffrey B. Liebman, 2000. "The Taxation of Executive Compensation," NBER Chapters,in: Tax Policy and the Economy, Volume 14, pages 1-44 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    18. Morck, Randall & Shleifer, Andrei & Vishny, Robert W., 1988. "Management ownership and market valuation : An empirical analysis," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 20(1-2), pages 293-315, January.
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    Cited by:

    1. Bizjak, John M. & Lemmon, Michael L. & Naveen, Lalitha, 2008. "Does the use of peer groups contribute to higher pay and less efficient compensation?," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 90(2), pages 152-168, November.
    2. Bruno S. Frey & Margit Osterloh, "undated". "Yes, Managers Should be Paid Like Bureaucrats," IEW - Working Papers 187, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
    3. Paul André & Samer Khalil & Michel Magnan, 2012. "The adoption of deferred share unit plans for outside directors: economic and social determinants," Journal of Management & Governance, Springer;Accademia Italiana di Economia Aziendale (AIDEA), vol. 16(1), pages 81-105, February.
    4. Zacharias Sautner & Martin Weber, 2009. "How Do Managers Behave In Stock Option Plans? Clinical Evidence From Exercise And Survey Data," Journal of Financial Research, Southern Finance Association;Southwestern Finance Association, vol. 32(2), pages 123-155.
    5. Samer Khalil & Michel Magnan & Paul André, 2008. "The Adoption of Deferred Share Unit Plans for Outside Directors and Shareholder Wealth," Corporate Governance: An International Review, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 16(3), pages 210-224, May.
    6. Bulan, Laarni & Sanyal, Paroma & Yan, Zhipeng, 2010. "A few bad apples: An analysis of CEO performance pay and firm productivity," Journal of Economics and Business, Elsevier, vol. 62(4), pages 273-306, July.
    7. Loureiro, Gilberto & Makhija, Anil K. & Zhang, Dan, 2011. "Why Do Some CEOs Work for a One-Dollary Salary?," Working Paper Series 2011-7, Ohio State University, Charles A. Dice Center for Research in Financial Economics.
    8. Igor Filatotchev & Gregory Jackson & Chizu Nakajima, 2013. "Corporate governance and national institutions: A review and emerging research agenda," Asia Pacific Journal of Management, Springer, vol. 30(4), pages 965-986, December.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • J0 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - General
    • J3 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs

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