ETLA Discussion Papers, The Research Institute of the Finnish Economy (ETLA) 957
A new, long and rich panel data set consisting of all Finnish publicly traded firms is used to study how firm characteristics and stock market developments influence the adoption and targeting of stock option compensation. Stock option adoption is found to be a pro-cyclical phenomenon. Findings from firm-level econometric analysis often corroborate those based on U.S. data, but important differences also emerge. Findings include: (i) firms with higher market value per employee are more likely to use stock option compensation; (ii) share returns from the past year affect the adoption of targeted stock options, but not broad-based plans; (iii) typically larger firms with dispersed ownership adopt selective plans, while small “new economy” firms favor broad-based plans.