Do Agency relations Mediate the Interactions between Firms' Financial Policies and Business Cycles?
AbstractWe investigate the interactions between firms’ financial policies and expected business cycles, in listed firms, in Europe, and over 20 years. We show that these interactions are mediated by ownership structures. Firms with strongly concentrated ownership, or under control, lead contra-cyclical policies, while firms with dispersed ownership lead somewhat pro-cyclical policies, supporting the traditional expectation that business cycles are of little direct relevance for financial policies. Our theoretical considerations unfold from the idea that ownership dispersion implies a different mix in agency relations in the firm. It entails specificities in agency costs, opportunity benefits of managerial discretion, it fosters differing needs for disciplining through debt, different needs for signaling, and potentially different market timing behaviors by managers and incumbent shareholders. As a result different objectives and constraints foster different policies: firms with dispersed ownership conduct lean (i.e. procyclical) policies, while firms with concentrated ownership or under control favor some financial smoothing (i.e. contra-cyclical policies). We derive from these two propositions specific hypotheses about public debt issuance, private debt management, investment, dividend and cash-holding policies, as well as resulting changes in financial leverage. Evidence is mostly supportive of our hypothesizing and propositions. Our proceedings are largely exploratory and our potential contribution extends to a number adjacent research questions including, among others, the analysis of performance effects of ownership concentration, the relative assessment of governance mechanisms, or still the investigation, in capital structure studies, of specific managerial behaviors and managerspecific information. Overall our emphasis on the potential relevance of business cycles for firm’s financial policies comes timely following the recent financial turmoil.
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Luxembourg School of Finance, University of Luxembourg in its series LSF Research Working Paper Series with number 10-10.
Date of creation: 2010
Date of revision:
Contact details of provider:
Postal: Bâtiment K2, 4, rue Albert Borschette, L-1246 Luxembourg-Kirchberg
Phone: +352 46 66 44 6335
Fax: +352 46 66 44 6811
Web page: http://wwwen.uni.lu/luxembourg_school_of_finance
More information through EDIRC
Agency theory; International capital structure; Business cycles; Ownership dispersion. Entrenchment; Managerial discretion; Institutional context.;
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2010-12-18 (All new papers)
- NEP-BEC-2010-12-18 (Business Economics)
- NEP-MAC-2010-12-18 (Macroeconomics)
You can help add them by filling out this form.
reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.Access and download statisticsgeneral information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Martine Zenner).
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.