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Market valuation and employee stock options


  • Zhang, Ge

    (University of New Orleans)


This paper investigates a market-valuation-based hypothesis for employee stock options (ESOs). It examines how market valuation has affected the decision to grant ESOs, the amount of options granted, and the distribution of options among executives and rankand- file employees. I find strong empirical evidence that firms with high market valuation and high probability of future overvaluation are more likely to adopt ESOs and grant more options to their employees. Furthermore, when top executives perceive that the current market valuation is high, they grant a smaller portion of options to themselves relative to rank-and-file employees. All these results are consistent with the market-valuation rationale for ESOs, which argues that firms use ESOs as a method to sell overvalued equity.

Suggested Citation

  • Zhang, Ge, 2004. "Market valuation and employee stock options," Working Papers 2003-13, University of New Orleans, Department of Economics and Finance.
  • Handle: RePEc:uno:wpaper:2003-13

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item


    Market valuation; Stock options;

    JEL classification:

    • G12 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Asset Pricing; Trading Volume; Bond Interest Rates
    • G32 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Financing Policy; Financial Risk and Risk Management; Capital and Ownership Structure; Value of Firms; Goodwill
    • M52 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Personnel Economics - - - Compensation and Compensation Methods and Their Effects

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