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Does the independence of independent directors matter?

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  • Crespí-Cladera, Rafel
  • Pascual-Fuster, Bartolomé

Abstract

This paper analyzes the characteristics of firms that declare board directors as independents, although the directors are not strictly independent, and examines the consequences in terms of performance and corporate governance outcomes. Based on publicly available information, eight criteria of “independence” used to examine a panel of Spanish listed firms classify 14.2% of the directors as strictly independent, whereas the firms classify 32.5% of the board as independent directors. Firms with dispersed ownership structures misclassify directors more frequently than do firms with large controlling owners. In terms of consequences, we find weak evidence of a negative relation between misclassification and a firm's future operating performance. However, no relation is found between independents' misclassification and several relevant outcomes of the primary delegated committees with monitoring roles: the audit committee and the nomination and remuneration committee. There is no significance with regard to the non-strictly independent measures explaining executive directors' compensation, CEO turnover, audit qualifications or earning management behavior.

Suggested Citation

  • Crespí-Cladera, Rafel & Pascual-Fuster, Bartolomé, 2014. "Does the independence of independent directors matter?," Journal of Corporate Finance, Elsevier, vol. 28(C), pages 116-134.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:corfin:v:28:y:2014:i:c:p:116-134
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jcorpfin.2013.12.009
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    Cited by:

    1. Patricia Crifo & Elena Escrig-Olmedo & Nicolas Mottis, 2019. "Corporate Governance as a Key Driver of Corporate Sustainability in France: The Role of Board Members and Investor Relations," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 159(4), pages 1127-1146, November.
    2. Cheng, Lei & Sun, Zhen, 2019. "Do politically connected independent directors matter? Evidence from mandatory resignation events in China," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 58(C).
    3. Cédric van Appelghem & Pascal Nguyen, 2020. "Do CEO-Board ties affect the firm's cost of equity? [La proximité entre le dirigeant et les administrateurs a-t-elle un impact sur le coût des fonds propres ?]," Working Papers hal-02880367, HAL.
    4. Frijns, Bart & Dodd, Olga & Cimerova, Helena, 2016. "The impact of cultural diversity in corporate boards on firm performance," Journal of Corporate Finance, Elsevier, vol. 41(C), pages 521-541.
    5. Zhongju Liao & Manting Zhang & Xiaopeng Wang, 2019. "Do female directors influence firms' environmental innovation? The moderating role of ownership type," Corporate Social Responsibility and Environmental Management, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 26(1), pages 257-263, January.
    6. Borokhovich, Kenneth A. & Boulton, Thomas J. & Brunarski, Kelly R. & Harman, Yvette S., 2014. "The incentives of grey directors: Evidence from unexpected executive and board chair turnover," Journal of Corporate Finance, Elsevier, vol. 28(C), pages 102-115.
    7. Abdelrhman Yusuf & Mohamed Sherif, 2020. "All on Board? New Evidence on Board Characteristics from a Large Panel of UK FTSE Indices," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 12(13), pages 1-1, July.
    8. Ashfaque Banbhan & Xinsheng Cheng & Nizam Ud Din, 2018. "Financially Qualified Members in an Upper Echelon and Their Relationship with Corporate Sustainability: Evidence from an Emerging Economy," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 10(12), pages 1-1, December.
    9. Thierno Barry & Laetitia Lepetit & Frank Strobel & Thu Tran, 2018. "Better than independent: the role of minority directors on bank boards," Working Papers hal-01937927, HAL.
    10. Reguera-Alvarado, Nuria & Bravo, Francisco, 2017. "The effect of independent directors’ characteristics on firm performance: Tenure and multiple directorships," Research in International Business and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 41(C), pages 590-599.
    11. Yuan, Rongli & Sun, Jian & Cao, Feng, 2016. "Directors' and officers' liability insurance and stock price crash risk," Journal of Corporate Finance, Elsevier, vol. 37(C), pages 173-192.

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    Keywords

    Board strict independence; Corporate governance; Executive compensation; CEO turnover; Audit qualifications; Earnings management;

    JEL classification:

    • G30 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - General
    • G34 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Mergers; Acquisitions; Restructuring; Corporate Governance
    • K22 - Law and Economics - - Regulation and Business Law - - - Business and Securities Law

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