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Testing out the disciplinary role of debt in Croatian banks

Bambulović Mario (), Huljak Ivan () and Kožul Antonija ()
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Bambulović Mario: Croatian National Bank, Zagreb, Croatia
Kožul Antonija: McKinsey & Company, Zagreb, Croatia

Croatian Review of Economic, Business and Social Statistics, 2017, vol. 3, issue 1, 45-62

Abstract: According to the agency theory, debt brings discipline to management and therefore, one way of reducing agency costs is by increasing the level of indebtedness. Even though there are a number of specificities of banks as corporations, this agency theory postulate should still be valid. This research is motivated by the need to understand microeconomics of banking better, which could be especially rewarding in CEE countries where the issues of credit risk, bank capital and corporate governance are specific. Accordingly, by testing the disciplinary role of debt in Croatian banks, we contribute to the still scarce literature on bank governance in Croatia. We operationalise the research by first generating an efficiency measure, which we believe adequately represents management efforts and ability to maximize the value of owners’ investment. In the next step, we explore the relation between banks' efficiency and leverage. Our results do not indicate that debt generally creates a discipline mechanism for bank managers in Croatia.

Keywords: Agency theory; banking sector; Croatia; managerial efficiency (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: E50 G21 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2017
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