Date of Award

Summer 8-2016

Degree Type


Degree Name


Degree Program

Financial Economics


Economics and Finance

Major Professor

Mukherjee, Tarun

Second Advisor

Hassan, Mohammad Kabir

Third Advisor

Naka, Atsuyuki

Fourth Advisor

Zirek, Duygu

Fifth Advisor

Davis, James R.


For more than a decade, to reduce the agency problem, various ways have been examined on how to align the interest of manager with shareholders. Evidence and empirical findings are conflicting on the agency problem. Recently, deferred compensation as one incentive compensation draws the attention as a means to incentivize CEOs to make them work for the firm. However, it is still not evident if deferred compensation has effect on aligning CEOs with the firm’s goal possibly due to the issue on data. Therefore, the first essay investigates if deferred compensation has the effect on the agency problem and on the firm performance improvement after dealing with the data issue. This paper mainly aims to investigate if there is the non-linear relationship between the investment choice problem and the deferred compensation as Jensen and Meckling (1976) claim. This paper concludes that deferred compensation from NQDC table has positive and significant effect on the firm performance and the investment choice problem. More importantly, following McConnell and Servaes (1990), this paper finds the curvilinear relationship between Tobin’s Q and the deferred compensation and can confirm Jensen and Meckling (1976) theoretical application.

The second essay aims to clarify the understanding on the relationship between the firm’s cash holdings and its causes by introducing the more detailed relationship between cash holdings and macroeconomic uncertainty. While previous literature tries to explain the level of cash holdings mainly by the firm-level variables, this study considers the full impact of the macroeconomic uncertainty on the level of cash holdings by introducing the firm’s heterogeneous exposure to macroeconomic uncertainty to see if the heterogeneity can tell the difference in the change in the level of cash holdings. This paper finds that macroeconomic uncertainties measured by difference macroeconomic condition variables are significant and contribute to the change in cash holdings. Additionally, this paper shows that the firms’ different level of exposure to macroeconomic uncertainty can cause the different degree of cash holdings and that firms with the higher level of exposure have the higher level of cash holdings.


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