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Diversification and Delegation in Firms

  • Sonja Daltung
  • Vittoria Cerasi

This paper shows how separation of ownership and control may arise as a response to overload costs, despite agency costs, and how conglomerates arise as solution to information asymmetries in capital markets. In a context where entrepreneurs have the ability to run projects and improve their future cash flow, there could be rationing of credit due to moral hazard between entrepreneurs and investors. Diversification could mitigate the moral hazard problem. However for a single entrepreneur running many different projects might be increasingly costly due to overload costs. Delegating the running of projects to several managers can not only reduce overload costs, but also the moral hazard problem of external financing. In this paper we show that delegation can be the only way to exploit the gains from diversification when overload costs of diversification are high; delegation thus is the key ingredient to be able to diversify.

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File URL: http://www.lse.ac.uk/fmg/workingPapers/discussionPapers/fmg_pdfs/dp403.pdf
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Paper provided by Financial Markets Group in its series FMG Discussion Papers with number dp403.

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Date of creation: Feb 2002
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Handle: RePEc:fmg:fmgdps:dp403
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.lse.ac.uk/fmg/

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  1. Shleifer, Andrei & Vishny, Robert W., 1989. "Management entrenchment : The case of manager-specific investments," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 25(1), pages 123-139, November.
  2. Diamond, Douglas W, 1984. "Financial Intermediation and Delegated Monitoring," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 51(3), pages 393-414, July.
  3. Qian, Yingyi, 1994. "Incentives and Loss of Control in an Optimal Hierarchy," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 61(3), pages 527-44, July.
  4. Holmstrom, Bengt & Tirole, Jean, 1997. "Financial Intermediation, Loanable Funds, and the Real Sector," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 112(3), pages 663-91, August.
  5. Douglas W. Diamond & Philip H. Dybvig, 2000. "Bank runs, deposit insurance, and liquidity," Quarterly Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, issue Win, pages 14-23.
  6. Robert H. Gertner & David S. Scharfstein & Jeremy C. Stein, 1994. "Internal versus External Capital Markets," NBER Working Papers 4776, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Cerasi, Vittoria & Daltung, Sonja, 2000. "The optimal size of a bank: Costs and benefits of diversification," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 44(9), pages 1701-1726, October.
  8. Jensen, Michael C, 1986. "Agency Costs of Free Cash Flow, Corporate Finance, and Takeovers," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(2), pages 323-29, May.
  9. Boot, Arnoud W. A. & Schmeits, Anjolein, 2000. "Market Discipline and Incentive Problems in Conglomerate Firms with Applications to Banking," Journal of Financial Intermediation, Elsevier, vol. 9(3), pages 240-273, July.
  10. Bengt Holmstrom, 1981. "Moral Hazard in Teams," Discussion Papers 471, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  11. Li, David D & Li, Shan, 1996. " A Theory of Corporate Scope and Financial Structure," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 51(2), pages 691-709, June.
  12. Jeremy C. Stein, 2001. "Agency, Information and Corporate Investment," NBER Working Papers 8342, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Berger, Philip G. & Ofek, Eli, 1995. "Diversification's effect on firm value," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 37(1), pages 39-65, January.
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