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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. Gorton, Gary & Rosen, Richard, 1995. " Corporate Control, Portfolio Choice, and the Decline of Banking," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 50(5), pages 1377-1420, December.
    2. 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.
    3. 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.
    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. 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.
    6. 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.
    7. 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.
    8. 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.
    9. 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.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:
    1. 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).
    2. 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.
    3. 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.
    4. 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.
    5. 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.
    6. D.T. Llewellyn, 2000. "Some Lessons for Bank Regulation from Recent Crises," DNB Staff Reports (discontinued) 51, Netherlands Central Bank.
    7. Teresa garcía Marco & M. Dolores Robles-Fernández, 2005. "Risk tasking behaviour and ownership in the banking industry: the Spanish evidence," Documentos del Instituto Complutense de Análisis Económico 0507, Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Facultad de Ciencias Económicas y Empresariales.
    8. 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.
    9. 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.
    10. 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.
    11. 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 CREGO 1060501, Université de Bourgogne - CREGO EA7317 Centre de recherches en gestion des organisations.
    12. Augusto Hasman, 2013. "A Critical Review Of Contagion Risk In Banking," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 27(5), pages 978-995, December.
    13. 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.
    14. 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.
    15. 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.

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