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The efficiency view of corporate boards: theory and evidence

Listed author(s):
  • Angelo Baglioni


  • Luca Colombo


    (DISCE, Università Cattolica)

We build a simple model in which corporate governance may allow for institutions acting as commitment devices (e.g., the introduction of independent and minority members in the board). The model predicts that the incentive to adopt an institution — letting the general interest of shareholders prevail over private benefits of control by dominant shareholders — is decreasing in ownership concentration and increasing in free cash flow. We take the predictions of our theoretical model to the data, by providing empirical evidence on the board structure of Italian listed companies over the period 2004-2007. We find that board composition favors independent members in firms where the free cash flow is large, and executive members in firms with high ownership concentration and in family firms, supporting the view of corporate governance as a mechanism to control agency costs. More ambiguous conclusions are reached as for the link between governance and firm value, as the presence of minority lists in the board appears to improve value while that of independent members reduces performance.

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Paper provided by Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Dipartimenti e Istituti di Scienze Economiche (DISCE) in its series DISCE - Quaderni dell'Istituto di Economia e Finanza with number ief0096.

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Length: 28 pag
Date of creation: Jul 2010
Handle: RePEc:ctc:serie3:ief0096
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