The Long-Term Consequences of Short-Term Incentives

This paper studies two corporate actions that allow accurate measurement of the long-term consequences of short-term incentives – stock repurchases and mergers and acquisitions (M&A). The research shows that the impending vesting of equity may lead CEOs to take myopic actions that boost the short-term stock price at the expense of long-term value. An increase in vesting equity is associated with a greater frequency of stock repurchases and M&A announcements, and both corporate events were associated with higher short-term returns and lower long-term returns.