We examine the empirical relationship between direct equity agency costs measures and corporate governance control mechanisms to control equity agency costs. We measure the three direct agency cost proxies commonly used in the literature: the operating expense; asset turnover; and selling, general, and administrative (SGA) ratios. Internal corporate governance control mechanisms examined are inside ownership (IO), outside ownership concentration (OC), the size of the board of directors (BODs), and the composition of the BODs (proportion of nonexecutive (NE) directors and separation of chief executive officer (CEO) and board chair). The external corporate governance control mechanism examined is the size of bank debt (short-term debt). Univariate and multivariate tests reveal that the only statistically significant relationship between corporate governance control mechanisms and direct equity agency cost measures is the negative relationship between the proportion of IO and direct agency costs. The asset utilization ratio (asset turnover) ratio is the best proxy for direct equity agency costs and can be useful for event studies of announcement period excess returns.
Hijazi, B.M. and Conover, J.A. (2011), "Empirical Performance of Accounting Measures of Direct Agency Costs", Kensinger, J.W. (Ed.) Research in Finance (Research in Finance, Vol. 27), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 223-272. https://doi.org/10.1108/S0196-3821(2011)0000027010
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