ABSTRACT

This study presents evidence that option expensing, whether voluntary under SFAS 123 or mandatory under SFAS 123(R), is associated with changes in CEO compensation that are beneficial to shareholders. I find that the reporting benefits of aggregate-employee option grants under SFAS 123 are associated with the change in the mix of CEO option grants and stock grants that occurs after SFAS 123(R), suggesting that reporting benefits of option grants may have influenced some CEO compensation decisions. Additionally, I find that the reduction in CEO pay after SFAS 123(R) is greater when shareholders have more power to act in their own best interest and when there is evidence of pre-expensing CEO compensation rents. The findings suggest that SFAS 123 may have encouraged inefficient, CEO-preferential pay practices and that SFAS 123(R) may have contributed to a reduction in CEO compensation inefficiencies.

Data Availability: All data are publicly available.

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