Non-transferable non-hedgeable executive stock option pricing

David B. Colwell, David Feldman, Wei Hu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


To value non-transferable non-hedgeable (NTNH) contingent claims and price executive stock options (ESOs), we use a replication argument to translate portfolios with NTNH derivatives into portfolios of primary assets (only) with stochastic portfolio constraints. By identifying stochastic discount factors and finding subjective prices of NTNH European and American ESOs, for block and continuous partial exercise, we derive executives' optimal exercise policies, and use these to find objective prices/costs of ESOs to firms. Through numerical simulations, we obtain policy implications regarding ESOs' incentivizing efficiency. For the first time, we demonstrate that, unlike under block exercise, subjective prices under continuous partial exercise may be higher than objective ones. Moreover, volatility regimes and executives' "other wealth" are important in ESO pricing, and are thus essential to empirical executive compensation studies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)161-191
Number of pages31
JournalJournal of Economic Dynamics and Control
StatePublished - 1 Apr 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Constrained portfolio optimization
  • Executive stock options
  • Non-hedgeable
  • Non-transferable
  • Stochastic discount factor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Control and Optimization
  • Applied Mathematics


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