Date of Award

12-19-2008

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph.D.

Degree Program

Financial Economics

Department

Economics and Finance

Major Professor

Naka, Atsuyuki

Abstract

This dissertation consists of three essays examining the relation between corporate governance and firm performance. The theme of this study is that the widely documented long-term underperformance in equity carve-outs can be partly explained by weak corporate governance. The first essay presented in Chapter 2 explores the effect of shareholder-rights protection on the performance of a sample of firms that initiated a carve-out during the period 1983-2004. Using the Gompers, Ishii, and Metrick (2003) index and Bebchuk, Cohen, and Ferrell (2004) entrenchment index, as proxies for the quality of shareholder-rights protection, I provide evidence that firms with better shareholder rights protection outperform those with weaker rights protection. Results indicate that the weaker the rights protection, the greater the degree of underperformance. Overall, the results are robust to measures of firm performance and to model specification. The second essay presented in Chapter 3 examines the relation between firm performance and board structure. In particular, I study how board size, board independence, and CEO duality influence firm performance. I find that board size for non-financial firms is negatively related to firm performance but positively associated with performance for financial firms. Board independence is positively related to firm performance and CEO duality is negatively associated with performance for both financial and non-financial firms. These results are robust to various measures of firm performance. The conflicting evidence on board size, between financials and non-financials, seems to suggest that the scope and complexity of a firm.s operations drives board size. The third essay presented in Chapter 4 investigates corporate ownership and firm performance. I focus on insider ownership, outside blockholder ownership, and ownership concentration. Results show that insider ownership is negatively related to firm performance even at low levels of insider ownership levels. It is plausible that the combination of parent ownership and management ownership in the subsidiary exacerbate the entrenchment effect thus overwhelming the incentive alignment effects that theory posits. I document a positive relation between outside blockholder ownership and firm performance. And finally, I show that the level of ownership concentration increases (decreases) in anticipation of positive (negative) changes in firm performance.

Rights

The University of New Orleans and its agents retain the non-exclusive license to archive and make accessible this dissertation or thesis in whole or in part in all forms of media, now or hereafter known. The author retains all other ownership rights to the copyright of the thesis or dissertation.

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