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A case of an early 1900s principal-agent relationship in the Mississippi lumber industry


  • Timothy McCoy
  • Dale Flesher


Correspondence for the L. N. Dantzler Lumber Company, dating from 1904, survives in the Lumber Archives of the University of Mississippi. The correspondence is from the personal files of R. Breland, who rose to the position of office manager of the Dantzler Mills. An analysis of the correspondence reveals a unique agency relationship between the Dantzler Lumber Company and Breland. Breland was hired by the Dantzlers as a land agent. At the time, he was also employed by the Finkbine Lumber Company, a competitor of Dantzler's. Breland's behaviour supports the traditional behavioural assumption in agency theory that individuals will maximize their own self-interests with guile. His access to information allowed him to profit at the expense of others. He used his connections in land-related transactions to achieve personal gain.

Suggested Citation

  • Timothy McCoy & Dale Flesher, 1998. "A case of an early 1900s principal-agent relationship in the Mississippi lumber industry," Accounting History Review, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 8(1), pages 13-31.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:acbsfi:v:8:y:1998:i:1:p:13-31
    DOI: 10.1080/095852098330567

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Alchian, Armen A & Demsetz, Harold, 1972. "Production , Information Costs, and Economic Organization," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 62(5), pages 777-795, December.
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    4. repec:bla:joares:v:20:y:1982:i:2:p:503-527 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Hirshleifer, Jack, 1977. "Economics from a Biological Viewpoint," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 20(1), pages 1-52, April.
    6. Fama, Eugene F & Jensen, Michael C, 1983. "Separation of Ownership and Control," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 26(2), pages 301-325, June.
    7. Fama, Eugene F, 1980. "Agency Problems and the Theory of the Firm," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 88(2), pages 288-307, April.
    8. Bengt Holmstrom, 1979. "Moral Hazard and Observability," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 10(1), pages 74-91, Spring.
    9. San Miguel, Joseph G. & Govindarajan, Vijayaraghavan, 1984. "The contingent relationship between the controller and internal audit functions in large organizations," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 9(2), pages 179-188, June.
    10. Noreen, Eric, 1988. "The economics of ethics: A new perspective on agency theory," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 13(4), pages 359-369, June.
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    Agency Theory; Timber; Agency Costs;


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