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Independent minority directors and firm value in a principal–principal agency setting: evidence from Italy

Nicola Moscariello (), Michele Pizzo, Dmytro Govorun and Alexander Kostyuk ()
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Nicola Moscariello: University of Campania – Luigi Vanvitelli
Michele Pizzo: University of Campania – Luigi Vanvitelli
Dmytro Govorun: Virtus Global Center for Corporate Governance

Journal of Management & Governance, 2019, vol. 23, issue 1, No 8, 165-194

Abstract: Abstract Following the agency theory, this paper contributes to the literature on board independence as a mechanism to mitigate agency costs by investigating the impact of independent minority directors on firm value in a principal–principal setting. Independent minority directors might alleviate agency costs associated to the risk of self-dealing transactions and, in turn, increase firm value. However, since non-controlling shareholders are also self-interested, particularly for firms characterized by strong uncertainty about future financial results and high information asymmetry, independent minority directors might negatively impact firm value by creating frictions within the board, increasing the risks of potential hold-ups by minority shareholders and limiting the ex-ante incentives of the block-holder to undertake profitable idiosyncratic investments. By examining a sample of Italian listed companies, we find some evidence about a positive relationship between the proportion of independent minority directors and firm value. Although weaker, a positive relationship between the proportion of independent minority directors and firm value is also found for firms characterized by high information asymmetry and—therefore—exposed to the risk of opportunistic actions by minority shareholders against the dominant shareholder. Our results shed new light on the relationship between board composition and firm value in a concentrated ownership setting, revealing the role played by independent minority directors in mitigating agency costs.

Keywords: Board independence; Independent minority directors; Principal–principal conflicts; Ownership structure; Idiosyncratic investments; Firm value (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2019
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DOI: 10.1007/s10997-018-9421-0

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Handle: RePEc:kap:jmgtgv:v:23:y:2019:i:1:d:10.1007_s10997-018-9421-0