Choosing an incentive for good work so everyone gains: stocks or options?

Stock options or pure stock — what’s the trade-off?In recent years, the practice of motivating CEOs and managers with stock options rather than pure stock has been linked to corruption and fraud. But companies shouldn’t fear the option, according to two professors in the Olin School of Business at Washington University in St. Louis. Moving away from stock options as a way to reward good work may be a bad business move. The professors argue that in most cases stock options provide better incentives to motivate employees and they’re less expensive for the company to issue. At the same time, the researchers found that if a company is just starting out or facing possible bankruptcy, then stocks are your best bet.

Gambling psychology offers insight into self-control, risk-taking, impulsiveness

Photo by Joe Angeles/WUSTL PhotoAre gamblers impulsive?Why do people engage in behaviors they know are harmful to them in the long run? Why do we give in to that incredible chocolate cake even though we’re trying to lose weight and stay fit? The answer, suggests a recent study on the psychology of gambling and impulsive behavior, is a simple economic phenomenon known as discounting. While good health may be its own reward, research suggests that the value of that reward diminishes as it’s delayed; and the longer it’s delayed, the less it controls your present behavior. Although gamblers may deserve their reputations as notorious risk-takers, they often do better than non-gamblers at delaying gratification to maximize long-term rewards.