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The effect of royal family members on the board on firm performance in Saudi Arabia

Zahra AL Nasser (University of Dublin, Dublin, Ireland)

Journal of Accounting in Emerging Economies

ISSN: 2042-1168

Article publication date: 7 August 2019

Issue publication date: 17 August 2020

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to empirically examine the effect of royal family members on firm performance of publicly listed companies in Saudi Arabia.

Design/methodology/approach

Using 491 firm-year observations of non-financial publicly listed firms in Saudi Arabia’s stock market between 2009 and 2013, the study employs, besides others, the advanced econometric technique GMM-system estimator. This allows the dynamic nature and control of the endogeneity problem to be accounted for in corporate governance and firm performance.

Findings

The main result is that the attendance of royal family members at board meetings negatively influences firm performance but does not have an influence on firm value. The results also show that firms with many independent royal family members on the board of directors have better firm performance and firm value. In addition, firms with a high number of royal family members presenting on the board have better firm performance.

Research limitations/implications

This study offers guidance to assist the further investigation of the SA Royal Family’s BoD membership either in SA or in other monarchy countries. It is interesting to compare these results in order to further understand the different effects that the Royal Family’s BoD membership have in such countries. This study’s results suggest that independent members of SA’s Royal Family on the BoD have some influence on firm performance in both the short and long term. Thus, policymakers should encourage the members of SA’s Royal Family to become more involved in firms’ BoDs.

Practical implications

This study offers guidance for further investigation of royal family members in the region or in other monarchy countries. It will be interesting to compare these results. The study suggests that royal family members on the board have a partial influence on firm performance, especially the independent ones. Thus, the policymakers should encourage more involvement of independent royal family members on the board.

Social implications

Foreign and minority investors, who invest in SA’s publicly listed firms, should note that when independent members of SA’s Royal Family are on the BoD their investment will benefit from the reduced risks and uncertainty.

Originality/value

To the best of the author’s knowledge, this is the first study undertaken to investigate empirically the influence a royal family’s presence on the board of directors has on firm performance. This study is based on both theories, namely the agency theory and resource dependence theory.

Keywords

Citation

AL Nasser, Z. (2020), "The effect of royal family members on the board on firm performance in Saudi Arabia", Journal of Accounting in Emerging Economies, Vol. 10 No. 3, pp. 487-518. https://doi.org/10.1108/JAEE-04-2017-0041

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

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