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The adoption of stock option plans and their effects on firm performance during Japan’s period of corporate governance reform

Nobuhisa Hasegawa, Hyonok Kim and Yukihiro Yasuda

Journal of the Japanese and International Economies, 2017, vol. 44, issue C, 13-25

Abstract: This paper empirically investigates the adoption of stock option plans and their effects on firm performance in Japan. Using the sample of the period of corporate governance reform in the 2000s, we find that the adoption of stock option plans was more likely at firms in an industry where many firms had already introduced stock option plans. The result indicates a type of herding behavior among Japanese firms. We further find that firms rushed to grant stock options just before the adoption of the new accounting standard (ASBJ Statement No. 8). Unique to Japan, this standard requires stock option expensing only for newly granted options. We also find that operating performance decreased, but that payout and liquidity ratios remained almost constant after the adoption of stock option plans. Overall, the results do not support the view, at least in the Japanese context, that stock options can function as a primary incentive for improving firm performance.

Keywords: Stock option; Herding behavior; Accounting cost; Firm performance (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: G21 G34 G32 G35 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2017
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