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Owner as Manager, Extended Horizons and the Family Firm

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  • Harvey James

Abstract

Previous work on firm ownership structure suggests that organizations in which ownership and control are combined may be undervalued relative to the market investment rule because decision makers have an incentive to forgo investment projects that managers in firms with specialized ownership find profitable. However, the specialization of ownership and decision-making functions may result in substantial agency costs. This paper shows that these tradeoffs may not exist in family firms. The extended horizons characteristic of family businesses may provide the necessary incentives for decision makers to invest according to the market rule while limiting agency costs that arise when ownership and control are separated. Family ties, loyalty, insurance, and stability are expected to be effective in lengthening the horizons of managers and in providing the incentives for family managers to make efficient investments in the family business.

Suggested Citation

  • Harvey James, 1999. "Owner as Manager, Extended Horizons and the Family Firm," International Journal of the Economics of Business, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 6(1), pages 41-55.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:ijecbs:v:6:y:1999:i:1:p:41-55 DOI: 10.1080/13571519984304
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    References listed on IDEAS

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