CEO stock options and analysts’ forecast accuracy and bias

CEO stock options and analysts’ forecast accuracy and bias This paper investigates the relationship between CEO stock options and analysts’ earnings forecast accuracy and bias. A higher level of stock options may induce managers to undertake riskier projects, to change and/or reallocate their effort, and to possibly engage in gaming (such as opportunistic earnings and disclosure management). These managerial behaviors result in an increase in the complexity of forecasting and hence, less accurate analysts’ forecasts. Analysts’ optimistic forecast bias may also increase as the level of stock options pay increases. Because forecast complexity increases with stock options pay, analysts, needing greater access to management’s information to produce accurate forecasts, have incentives to increase the optimistic bias in their forecasts. Alternatively, a higher level of stock options pay may lead to improved disclosure because it better aligns managers’ and shareholders’ interests. The improved disclosure, in turn, may result in more accurate and less biased analysts’ forecasts. Our empirical evidence indicates that analysts’ earnings forecast accuracy decreases and forecast optimism increases as the level of CEO stock options increases. This evidence suggests that the incentive alignment effects of stock options are more than offset by the investment, effort allocation and gaming incentives induced by stock options grants to CEOs. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Review of Quantitative Finance and Accounting Springer Journals

CEO stock options and analysts’ forecast accuracy and bias

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Publisher
Springer Journals
Copyright
Copyright © 2011 by Springer Science+Business Media, LLC
Subject
Finance; Corporate Finance; Accounting/Auditing; Econometrics; Operation Research/Decision Theory
ISSN
0924-865X
eISSN
1573-7179
D.O.I.
10.1007/s11156-011-0229-0
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

This paper investigates the relationship between CEO stock options and analysts’ earnings forecast accuracy and bias. A higher level of stock options may induce managers to undertake riskier projects, to change and/or reallocate their effort, and to possibly engage in gaming (such as opportunistic earnings and disclosure management). These managerial behaviors result in an increase in the complexity of forecasting and hence, less accurate analysts’ forecasts. Analysts’ optimistic forecast bias may also increase as the level of stock options pay increases. Because forecast complexity increases with stock options pay, analysts, needing greater access to management’s information to produce accurate forecasts, have incentives to increase the optimistic bias in their forecasts. Alternatively, a higher level of stock options pay may lead to improved disclosure because it better aligns managers’ and shareholders’ interests. The improved disclosure, in turn, may result in more accurate and less biased analysts’ forecasts. Our empirical evidence indicates that analysts’ earnings forecast accuracy decreases and forecast optimism increases as the level of CEO stock options increases. This evidence suggests that the incentive alignment effects of stock options are more than offset by the investment, effort allocation and gaming incentives induced by stock options grants to CEOs.

Journal

Review of Quantitative Finance and AccountingSpringer Journals

Published: Mar 12, 2011

References

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