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Agency problems and risk taking at banks

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  • Rebecca S. Demsetz
  • Marc R. Saidenberg
  • Philip E. Strahan
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    Abstract

    The moral hazard problem associated with deposit insurance generates the potential for excessive risk taking on the part of bank owners. The banking literature identifies franchise value--a firm's profit-generating potential--as one force mitigating that risk taking. We argue that in the presence of owner/manager agency problems, managerial risk aversion may also offset the excessive risk taking that stems from moral hazard. Empirical models of bank risk tend to focus either on the disciplinary role of franchise value or on owner/manager agency problems. We estimate a unified model and find that both franchise value and ownership structure affect risk at banks. More important, we identify an interesting interaction effect: The relationship between ownership structure and risk is significant only at low-franchise value banks--those where moral hazard problems are most severe and where conflicts between owner and manager risk preferences are therefore strongest. For these banks, insider holdings affect risk taking through asset risk, while ownership concentration affects risk taking through leverage. This is consistent with the idea that outside blockholders more readily control managerial risk-taking by influencing leverage than by influencing asset risk.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of New York in its series Research Paper with number 9709.

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    Date of creation: 1997
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    Handle: RePEc:fip:fednrp:9709

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    Related research

    Keywords: Risk ; Deposit insurance ; Bank management;

    References

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    1. Acharya, Sankarshan, 1996. "Charter value, minimum bank capital requirement and deposit insurance pricing in equilibrium," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 20(2), pages 351-375, March.
    2. Demsetz, Rebecca S & Strahan, Philip E, 1997. "Diversification, Size, and Risk at Bank Holding Companies," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 29(3), pages 300-313, August.
    3. Gary Gorton & Richard Rosen, . "Corporate Control, Portfolio Choice, and the Decline of Banking," Rodney L. White Center for Financial Research Working Papers 2-93, Wharton School Rodney L. White Center for Financial Research.
    4. Elijah Brewer, III & Marc R. Saidenberg, 1996. "Franchise value, ownership structure, and risk at savings institutions," Research Paper 9632, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
    5. Houston, Joel F. & James, Christopher, 1995. "CEO compensation and bank risk Is compensation in banking structured to promote risk taking?," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 36(2), pages 405-431, November.
    6. Berger, Allen N & Udell, Gregory F, 1995. "Relationship Lending and Lines of Credit in Small Firm Finance," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 68(3), pages 351-81, July.
    7. Keeley, Michael C, 1990. "Deposit Insurance, Risk, and Market Power in Banking," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(5), pages 1183-1200, December.
    8. Jensen, Michael C. & Meckling, William H., 1976. "Theory of the firm: Managerial behavior, agency costs and ownership structure," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 3(4), pages 305-360, October.
    9. Saunders, Anthony & Strock, Elizabeth & Travlos, Nickolaos G, 1990. " Ownership Structure, Deregulation, and Bank Risk Taking," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 45(2), pages 643-54, June.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:
    1. Christine Marsal, 2006. "La cohérence dans la mobilisation du capital humain:une illustration de la théorie de l’architecture organisationnelle dans les banques de réseau," Working Papers FARGO 1060501, Université de Bourgogne - Crego EA 7317/Fargo (Research center in Finance,organizational ARchitecture and GOvernance).
    2. Augusto Hasman, 2013. "A Critical Review Of Contagion Risk In Banking," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 27(5), pages 978-995, December.
    3. Boubakri, Narjess & Cosset, Jean-Claude & Fischer, Klaus & Guedhami, Omrane, 2005. "Privatization and bank performance in developing countries," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 29(8-9), pages 2015-2041, August.
    4. Haucap, Justus & Heimeshoff, Ulrich & Uhde, André, 2010. "Zur Neuregulierung des Bankensektors nach der Finanzkrise: Bewertung der Reformvorhaben der EU aus ordnungspolitischer Sicht," DICE Ordnungspolitische Perspektiven 02, Heinrich‐Heine‐Universität Düsseldorf, Düsseldorf Institute for Competition Economics (DICE).
    5. D.T. Llewellyn, 2000. "Some Lessons for Bank Regulation from Recent Crises," DNB Staff Reports (discontinued) 51, Netherlands Central Bank.
    6. Martin BROWNBRIDGE, 1998. "The Causes Of Financial Distress In Local Banks In Africa And Implications For Prudential Policy," UNCTAD Discussion Papers 132, United Nations Conference on Trade and Development.
    7. Anderson, Ronald C. & Fraser, Donald R., 2000. "Corporate control, bank risk taking, and the health of the banking industry," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 24(8), pages 1383-1398, August.
    8. Robert DeYoung & Kenneth Spong & Richard J. Sullivan, 1999. "Who's minding the store? motivating and monitoring hired managers at small, closely held firms: the case of commercial banks," Working Paper Series WP-99-17, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
    9. Iannotta, Giuliano & Nocera, Giacomo & Sironi, Andrea, 2007. "Ownership structure, risk and performance in the European banking industry," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 31(7), pages 2127-2149, July.
    10. Sullivan, Richard J. & Spong, Kenneth R., 2007. "Manager wealth concentration, ownership structure, and risk in commercial banks," Journal of Financial Intermediation, Elsevier, vol. 16(2), pages 229-248, April.
    11. Rómulo Chumacero E. & Patricia S. Langoni, 2001. "Risk, Size and Concentration in the Chilean Banking System," Journal Economía Chilena (The Chilean Economy), Central Bank of Chile, vol. 4(1), pages 25-34, April.
    12. Arthur Petit-Romec, 2011. "L'intérêt d'un renforcement des fonds propres bancaires (et de mesures complémentaires) pour concilier stabilité financière, performance et bon fonctionnement des banques," Post-Print dumas-00643745, HAL.
    13. Garci­a-Marco, Teresa & Robles-Fernández, M. Dolores, 2008. "Risk-taking behaviour and ownership in the banking industry: The Spanish evidence," Journal of Economics and Business, Elsevier, vol. 60(4), pages 332-354.
    14. David Llewellyn, 2002. "An analysis of the causes of recent banking crises," The European Journal of Finance, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 8(2), pages 152-175.
    15. Richard J. Sullivan & Kenneth R. Spong, 1998. "How does ownership structure and manager wealth influence risk? : a look at ownership structure, manager wealth, and risk in commercial banks," Financial Industry Perspectives, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, issue Dec, pages 15-40.

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