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Do Decision Makers' Debt-risk Attitudes Affect the Agency Costs of Debt?


  • Hailu, Getu
  • Goddard, Ellen W.
  • Jeffrey, Scott R.


Over the past 25 years, traditional agricultural co-operatives have been challenged by competition from local investor-owned firms and multinational companies, deregulation and globalization of trade, and increased market concentration in suppliers and purchasers. At the same time, co-operatives have constantly been seeking to add value to their member services through expansion and/or adoption of new technology. The capital investment needed for these endeavours has to be financed, and for traditional co-operatives the major source of financing new investments has been long-term borrowing. As a result some co-operatives are characterized by high debt loads, which may result in increased financial risk exposure. Important factors that may influence the level of financial risk exposure are the potential conflicts between managerial self-interest and the interest of the owners of the firm (Jensen, 1986; Jensen and Meckling, 1976) and the impact of these differences on the choice of capital structure (Friend and Lang, 1988; Firth, 1995; Matthews et al., 1994). Despite the considerable literature (e.g., Jensen and Meckling, 1976; Lewis and Sappington, 1995), the impact that differences in attitudes between managers and directors/members have upon the decision making process has remained a relatively unexplained aspect of agency problems, especially in member-owned firms. This article assesses the social-psychological and demographic variables that affect co-operative decision makers’ attitudes toward long-term debt financing and their intentions to increase long-term borrowing.

Suggested Citation

  • Hailu, Getu & Goddard, Ellen W. & Jeffrey, Scott R., 2005. "Do Decision Makers' Debt-risk Attitudes Affect the Agency Costs of Debt?," CAFRI: Current Agriculture, Food and Resource Issues, Canadian Agricultural Economics Society, issue 06.
  • Handle: RePEc:ags:cafric:46025

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    1. Billett, Matthew T, 1996. "Targeting Capital Structure: The Relationship between Risky Debt and the Firm's Likelihood of Being Acquired," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 69(2), pages 173-192, April.
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    3. Berens, James L & Cuny, Charles J, 1995. "The Capital Structure Puzzle Revisited," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 8(4), pages 1185-1208.
    4. Richard E. Caves & Bruce C. Petersen, 1986. "Cooperatives' shares in farm industries: Organizational and policy factors," Agribusiness, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 2(1), pages 1-19.
    5. Friend, Irwin & Lang, Larry H P, 1988. " An Empirical Test of the Impact of Managerial Self-interest on Corporate Capital Structure," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 43(2), pages 271-281, June.
    6. Eugene F. Fama & Kenneth R. French, 1998. "Taxes, Financing Decisions, and Firm Value," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 53(3), pages 819-843, June.
    7. Stulz, ReneM., 1988. "Managerial control of voting rights : Financing policies and the market for corporate control," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 20(1-2), pages 25-54, January.
    8. Tracy R. Lewis & David E.M. Sappington, 1995. "Optimal Capital Structure in Agency Relationships," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 26(3), pages 343-361, Autumn.
    9. Demsetz, Harold & Lehn, Kenneth, 1985. "The Structure of Corporate Ownership: Causes and Consequences," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 93(6), pages 1155-1177, December.
    10. 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.
    11. Ajzen, Icek, 1991. "The theory of planned behavior," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 50(2), pages 179-211, December.
    12. Ellen Goddard, 2002. "Factors Underlying the Evolution of Farm-related Cooperatives in Alberta," Canadian Journal of Agricultural Economics/Revue canadienne d'agroeconomie, Canadian Agricultural Economics Society/Societe canadienne d'agroeconomie, vol. 50(4), pages 473-495, December.
    13. Hailu, Getu & Jeffrey, Scott R. & Goddard, Ellen W. & Ng, Desmond W., 2004. "Incentive Incompatibility In Co-Operative Agribusiness Firms In Canada: Does Supply Management Matter?," Journal of Food Distribution Research, Food Distribution Research Society, vol. 35(01), March.
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    Agribusiness; Agricultural and Food Policy;


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