IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/nbr/nberwo/17387.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Corporate Governance, Debt, and Investment Policy during the Great Depression

Author

Listed:
  • John R. Graham
  • Sonali Hazarika
  • Krishnamoorthy Narasimhan

Abstract

We study a period of severe disequilibrium to investigate whether board characteristics are related to corporate investment, debt usage, and firm value. During the 1930-1938 Depression era, when the corporate sector was shocked by an unprecedented downturn, we document a relation between board characteristics and firm performance that varies in economically sensible ways: Complex firms (that would benefit more from board advice) exhibit a positive relation between board size and firm value, and simple firms exhibit a negative relation between board size and firm value. Moreover, simple firms with large boards do not downsize adequately in response to the severe economic contraction: they invest more (or shrink less) and use more debt during the 1930s. We document similar effects for the number of outside directors on the board. Finally, we also find that companies with properly aligned governance structures are more likely to replace the company president following poor performance.

Suggested Citation

  • John R. Graham & Sonali Hazarika & Krishnamoorthy Narasimhan, 2011. "Corporate Governance, Debt, and Investment Policy during the Great Depression," NBER Working Papers 17387, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:17387
    Note: TWP
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w17387.pdf
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Schiffman, Daniel A., 2003. "Shattered Rails, Ruined Credit: Financial Fragility and Railroad Operations in the Great Depression," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 63(03), pages 802-825, September.
    2. MacKie-Mason, Jeffrey K, 1990. " Do Taxes Affect Corporate Financing Decisions?," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 45(5), pages 1471-1493, December.
    3. Michael C. Jensen, 2010. "The Modern Industrial Revolution, Exit, and the Failure of Internal Control Systems," Journal of Applied Corporate Finance, Morgan Stanley, vol. 22(1), pages 43-58.
    4. Agrawal, Anup & Knoeber, Charles R, 2001. "Do Some Outside Directors Play a Political Role?," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 44(1), pages 179-198, April.
    5. Milton Harris & Artur Raviv, 2008. "A Theory of Board Control and Size," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 21(4), pages 1797-1832, July.
    6. repec:hrv:faseco:30728046 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Berger, Philip G & Ofek, Eli & Yermack, David L, 1997. " Managerial Entrenchment and Capital Structure Decisions," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 52(4), pages 1411-1438, September.
    8. Tod Perry & Anil Shivdasani, 2005. "Do Boards Affect Performance? Evidence from Corporate Restructuring," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 78(4), pages 1403-1432, July.
    9. Boone, Audra L. & Casares Field, Laura & Karpoff, Jonathan M. & Raheja, Charu G., 2007. "The determinants of corporate board size and composition: An empirical analysis," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 85(1), pages 66-101, July.
    10. Mark R. Huson, 2001. "Internal Monitoring Mechanisms and CEO Turnover: A Long-Term Perspective," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 56(6), pages 2265-2297, December.
    11. Renée B. Adams & Daniel Ferreira, 2007. "A Theory of Friendly Boards," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 62(1), pages 217-250, February.
    12. Yermack, David, 1996. "Higher market valuation of companies with a small board of directors," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 40(2), pages 185-211, February.
    13. Hermalin, Benjamin E & Weisbach, Michael S, 1998. "Endogenously Chosen Boards of Directors and Their Monitoring of the CEO," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(1), pages 96-118, March.
    14. Shleifer, Andrei & Vishny, Robert W, 1997. " A Survey of Corporate Governance," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 52(2), pages 737-783, June.
    15. Rajan, Raghuram G & Zingales, Luigi, 1995. " What Do We Know about Capital Structure? Some Evidence from International Data," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 50(5), pages 1421-1460, December.
    16. Raheja, Charu G., 2005. "Determinants of Board Size and Composition: A Theory of Corporate Boards," Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, Cambridge University Press, vol. 40(02), pages 283-306, June.
    17. Demsetz, Harold & Lehn, Kenneth, 1985. "The Structure of Corporate Ownership: Causes and Consequences," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 93(6), pages 1155-1177, December.
    18. Bernanke, Ben S, 1983. "Nonmonetary Effects of the Financial Crisis in Propagation of the Great Depression," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 73(3), pages 257-276, June.
    19. Klein, April, 1998. "Firm Performance and Board Committee Structure," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 41(1), pages 275-303, April.
    20. Vidhi Chhaochharia & Yaniv Grinstein, 2007. "Corporate Governance and Firm Value: The Impact of the 2002 Governance Rules," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 62(4), pages 1789-1825, August.
    21. Coles, Jeffrey L. & Lemmon, Michael L. & Felix Meschke, J., 2012. "Structural models and endogeneity in corporate finance: The link between managerial ownership and corporate performance," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 103(1), pages 149-168.
    22. Booth, James R. & Deli, Daniel N., 1996. "Factors affecting the number of outside directorships held by CEOs," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 40(1), pages 81-104, January.
    23. Charles W. Calomiris & Joseph R. Mason, 2003. "Consequences of Bank Distress During the Great Depression," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(3), pages 937-947, June.
    24. Duchin, Ran & Matsusaka, John G. & Ozbas, Oguzhan, 2010. "When are outside directors effective?," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 96(2), pages 195-214, May.
    25. Benjamin E. Hermalin & Michael S. Weisbach, 2003. "Boards of directors as an endogenously determined institution: a survey of the economic literature," Economic Policy Review, Federal Reserve Bank of New York, issue Apr, pages 7-26.
    26. Coles, Jeffrey L. & Daniel, Naveen D. & Naveen, Lalitha, 2008. "Boards: Does one size fit all," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 87(2), pages 329-356, February.
    27. Bhagat, Sanjai & Bolton, Brian, 2008. "Corporate governance and firm performance," Journal of Corporate Finance, Elsevier, vol. 14(3), pages 257-273, June.
    28. Eisenberg, Theodore & Sundgren, Stefan & Wells, Martin T., 1998. "Larger board size and decreasing firm value in small firms," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 48(1), pages 35-54, April.
    29. John, Kose & Senbet, Lemma W., 1998. "Corporate governance and board effectiveness1," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 22(4), pages 371-403, May.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Nanda, Ramana & Nicholas, Tom, 2014. "Did bank distress stifle innovation during the Great Depression?," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 114(2), pages 273-292.
    2. Martin Dierker & Jung-Wook Kim & Jason Lee & Randall Morck, 2016. "Investors’ Interacting Demand and Supply Curves for Common Stocks," Review of Finance, European Finance Association, vol. 20(4), pages 1517-1547.
    3. Deloof, Marc & Vermoesen, Veronique, 2016. "The value of corporate boards during the Great Depression in Belgium," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 62(C), pages 108-123.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • G31 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Capital Budgeting; Fixed Investment and Inventory Studies
    • G32 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Financing Policy; Financial Risk and Risk Management; Capital and Ownership Structure; Value of Firms; Goodwill
    • G34 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Mergers; Acquisitions; Restructuring; Corporate Governance

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:17387. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: () or (Joanne Lustig). General contact details of provider: http://edirc.repec.org/data/nberrus.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.