IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

Stock Based Compensation: Firm-specific risk, Efficiency and Incentives

  • Vicky Henderson
Registered author(s):

    This paper examines the efficiency of stock based compensation by valuing stock and options from the executive's point of view. Companies give compensation in the form of stock in order to align incentives by providing a link between executive wealth and the stock price performance of the company. However, it requires the executive to be exposed to firm-specific risk, and thus hold a less than fully diversified portfolio. Since firm-specific risk is not priced, this leads to the executive placing less value on the options than their cost to the company, given by their market value. We propose a continuous time, utility maximisation model to value the executive's com- pensation. We endogenise allocation of the executive's non-option wealth as the executive may invest in the market portfolio. Executives trade the market portfolio to adjust exposure to market risk, but are subject to firm-specific risk for incentive purposes. By distinguishing between these two types of risks, we are able to examine the effect of stock volatility, firm-specific risk, market risk and the correlation between the stock and the market, on the value to the executive and incentives. We can prove that there is a negative relationship between firm-specific risk and value, if volatility is fixed. However, the value may increase or decrease with firm-specific risk if market risk is fixed. The same ambiguous relationship is found if we consider value as a function of volatility, so executives will not always aim to increase the volatility of the stock price. Just as the value of the compensation to the executive is overstated in a Black Scholes model, the Black Scholes model also exaggerates the incentives for the executive to increase the stock price. We address the question of how the company can maximise incentives (for a given cost) and show that if stock compensation replaces cash remuneration, it is optimal to compensate with stock, rather than options.

    If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

    File URL:
    Our checks indicate that this address may not be valid because: 404 Not Found. If this is indeed the case, please notify (Maxine Collett)

    Download Restriction: no

    Paper provided by Oxford Financial Research Centre in its series OFRC Working Papers Series with number 2002fe01.

    in new window

    Date of creation: 2002
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:sbs:wpsefe:2002fe01
    Contact details of provider: Web page:

    More information through EDIRC

    No references listed on IDEAS
    You can help add them by filling out this form.

    This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

    When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:sbs:wpsefe:2002fe01. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Maxine Collett)

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

    If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.