Journal of Finance and Economics

Journal of Finance and Economics

ISSN: 2291-4951 (Print)    ISSN: 2291-496X (Online)

Volume 3 (2015), No. 3, Pages 1-25

DOI: 10.12735/jfe.v3i3p01

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More Manipulation, Less Risk Taking?

Sharon Hannes1  Avraham Tabbach1 

1Faculty of Law, Tel Aviv University, Israel


To Cite this Article     Article Views: 956     Downloads: 571  Since deposited on 2015-08-22


Executive stock options are a dominant component of managers pay in the United States. This common compensation feature entails two perverse side effects: driving managers to engage in manipulative practices, and generating excessive risk-taking. Tellingly, some scholars blame the first side effect for the wave of Enron-style fraud in 2001-2002 and the second for the 2007-2010 financial crisis. To date, however, no one has investigated the interaction between these two types of adverse incentives, for manipulation and risk-taking. In this paper, we study the effects of manipulation practices on risk-taking decisions of managers holding large amounts of stock options. We first show that sufficient manipulation restrains excessive risk-taking but it does not impede managers from taking beneficially risky projects. We then show that mild levels of manipulation have complex effects on managers’ preference for risk taking, but they too tend to decrease risk taking. Our analysis suggests that when regulation improves disclosure and impedes manipulative practices, excessive risk taking may erupt. Policy-wise, we recommend that anti-manipulative regulatory policies be accompanied by measures designed to prevent excessive risk taking.

JEL Classifications: G18, G32, G38, J33,

Keywords: executive stock options; excessive risk taking; stock price manipulation; backdating; financial crisis

To Cite this Article: Hannes, S., & Tabbach, A. (2015). More manipulation, less risk taking? Journal of Finance and Economics, 3(3), 1-25.

Copyright © Sharon Hannes & Avraham Tabbach

Creative Commons License
This article is published under license to Science and Education Centre of North America. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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More Manipulation, Less Risk Taking?