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Are two heads better than one? Evidence from the thrift crisis

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  • Byrd, John
  • Fraser, Donald R.
  • Scott Lee, D.
  • Tartaroglu, Semih

Abstract

We employ a natural experiment from the 1980s, predating the ubiquitous clamor for independence influenced corporate governance structures, to examine which governance mechanisms are associated with firm survival and failure. We find that thrifts were more likely to survive the thrift crisis when their CEO also chaired the firm’s board of directors. On average, chair-holding CEOs undertook less aggressive lending policies than their counterparts who did not chair their boards. Consequently, taxpayer interests were protected by thrifts that bestowed both leadership posts to one person. This is an important policy issue, because taxpayers become the residual claimants for depository institutions that fail as a result of managers adopting risky strategies to exploit underpriced deposit insurance. Our findings corroborate recent evidence that manager-dominated firms resist shareholder pressure to adopt riskier investment strategies to exploit underpriced deposit insurance.

Suggested Citation

  • Byrd, John & Fraser, Donald R. & Scott Lee, D. & Tartaroglu, Semih, 2012. "Are two heads better than one? Evidence from the thrift crisis," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 36(4), pages 957-967.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jbfina:v:36:y:2012:i:4:p:957-967
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jbankfin.2011.10.009
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Yang, Tina & Zhao, Shan, 2014. "CEO duality and firm performance: Evidence from an exogenous shock to the competitive environment," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 49(C), pages 534-552.
    2. Zalewska, Anna, 2014. "Gentlemen do not talk about money: Remuneration dispersion and firm performance relationship on British boards," Journal of Empirical Finance, Elsevier, vol. 27(C), pages 40-57.
    3. Timothy King & Jonathan Williams, 2013. "Bank Efficiency and Executive Compensation," Working Papers 13009, Bangor Business School, Prifysgol Bangor University (Cymru / Wales).
    4. Michael Firth & Sonia Wong & Yong Yang, 2014. "The double-edged sword of CEO/chairperson duality in corporatized state-owned firms: evidence from top management turnover in China," Journal of Management & Governance, Springer;Accademia Italiana di Economia Aziendale (AIDEA), vol. 18(1), pages 207-244, February.
    5. Huang, Chia-Wei, 2015. "Takeover vulnerability and the credibility of signaling: The case of open-market share repurchases," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 58(C), pages 405-417.
    6. Chen, Sheng-Syan & Hsu, Ching-Yu & Huang, Chia-Wei, 2016. "The white squire defense: Evidence from private investments in public equity," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 64(C), pages 16-35.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Unitary leadership; CEO duality; Financial regulation; Financial crises; Corporate governance;

    JEL classification:

    • G38 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Government Policy and Regulation
    • G21 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Banks; Other Depository Institutions; Micro Finance Institutions; Mortgages
    • G28 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Government Policy and Regulation

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