This paper aims to perform empirical analysis to test whether less severe agency conflict between managers and controlling shareholders may improve family firms’ corporate and stock liquidity, compared to non-family firms.
The authors use the ordinary least square and two-stage generalized method of moments regression analyses. They also use match-paired design for robustness check.
Focusing on Standard & Poor’s 500 firms, the authors find that family firms are more conservative by hoarding more corporate liquid assets (as measured by accounting balance sheet liquidity ratios) than their peer non-family firms to prevent underinvestment from external costly finance. These family firms also exhibit higher level of stock liquidity and lower liquidity risk as measured by effective bid–ask spread than non-family firms. The results are consistent with the motivation that organizations (i.e. family firms in this study) whose shareholders can efficiently monitor that their managers are associated with higher level of corporate liquidity and stock liquidity, and lower level of liquidity risk.
This study contributes to the literature on liquidity (both corporate liquidity and stock liquidity) and ownership structure, more broadly corporate governance. It provides insights into corporate and stock liquidity within a unique ownership context: family firms versus non-family firms. Family firms in the USA are subject to both Type I (agency problems arising from the separation of ownership and control) and Type II agency problems (agency conflict arising between majority and minority shareholders). It is an ongoing debate whether family firms suffer more or less agency problems from one type versus the other than non-family firms. The finding that family firms have higher corporate and stock liquidity is consistent with that family firms being subject to less severe agency conflict due to separation of ownership from control.
The authors would like to thank the editor and reviewers for their helpful remarks. They would also like to thank the participants of Oakland University the Third Int’l Conference on Credit Analysis and Risk Management for their suggestions and comments. All remaining errors are of the authors.
Yu-Thompson, Y., Lu-Andrews, R. and Fu, L. (2016), "Liquidity and corporate governance: evidence from family firms", Review of Accounting and Finance, Vol. 15 No. 2, pp. 144-173. https://doi.org/10.1108/RAF-03-2015-0039Download as .RIS
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