Non-Management Director Options, Board Characteristics, and Future Firm Investments and Performance
81 Pages Posted: 25 May 2004
Date Written: May 2004
This paper examines if non-management director pay packages are set in ways consistent with the optimal contracting theory. Under this theory, directors issue stock option grants as a means for providing non-management directors incentives to monitor adequately the risk-taking and investment opportunities that managers of the firm undertake. Our results are consistent with this theory. Using a sample of over 5,200 observations between 1997 and 2002, we find that (1) agency costs differ substantially across our sample, (2) boards systematically set their compensation contracts to address these agency costs, and (3) significantly positive links exist between the ratio of current stock option grants-to-total compensation and seven future investment, risk and firm performance variables. The investment variables are next period's change in research and development expenditures and change in capital expenditures. The risk variable is next year's stock return volatility. The firm performance variables are next period's Tobin's Q ratio, return on assets (ROA), a market return on current investments, and this period's stock return. Our results are incremental to board characteristics, CEO stock option grants, and economic, firm-specific, yearly, and industry control factors.
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