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The Role of Dividends, Debt and Board Structure in the Governance of Family Controlled Firms

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  • Lukas Setia‐Atmaja
  • George A. Tanewski
  • Michael Skully

Abstract

We investigate whether family controlled firms use dividends, debt and board structure to exacerbate or mitigate agency problems between controlling and minority shareholders in a capital market environment with high investor protection and private benefits of control. Results indicate family controlled firms employ higher dividend payout ratios, higher debt levels and lower levels of board independence compared to non‐family firms. This suggests family controlled firms use either dividends or debt as a substitute for independent directors. We also find that dividends and debt are more effective governance mechanisms in mitigating the families’ expropriation of minority shareholders’ wealth. Independent directors are, in contrast, more effective in controlling owner‐manager conflict in non‐family firms.

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  • Lukas Setia‐Atmaja & George A. Tanewski & Michael Skully, 2009. "The Role of Dividends, Debt and Board Structure in the Governance of Family Controlled Firms," Journal of Business Finance & Accounting, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 36(7‐8), pages 863-898, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:jbfnac:v:36:y:2009:i:7-8:p:863-898
    DOI: 10.1111/j.1468-5957.2009.02151.x
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    9. Ravichandran K. Subramaniam & Teh Chee Ghee & Murugasu Thangarajah, 2020. "Executive Compensation, Ownership Structure and Dividend Payout: Evidence from Malaysia," Asian Academy of Management Journal of Accounting and Finance (AAMJAF), Penerbit Universiti Sains Malaysia, vol. 16(2), pages 47-75.
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    18. Wu, Manhwa & Ni, Yensen & Huang, Paoyu, 2020. "Dividend payouts and family-controlled firms—The effect of culture on business," The Quarterly Review of Economics and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 75(C), pages 221-228.
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