Litigation Risk and Agency Costs: Evidence from Nevada Corporate Law
Dain C. Donelson
University of Texas at Austin - McCombs School of Business
Christopher G. Yust
Texas A&M University
February 1, 2014
Journal of Law and Economics, Forthcoming
In 2001, Nevada significantly limited the personal legal liability of corporate officers and directors. We use this exogenous shock to implement a differences-in-differences design that examines the impact of officer and director litigation risk on agency costs. We find decreased firm value, especially for firms with lower levels of investor protection and with the highest expected agency costs. We also find that managerial incentives are reduced as measured by lower CEO pay-for-performance sensitivity. Finally, we find an adverse impact on operating performance and increased error-based restatements for Nevada firms subsequent to the change. Our findings emphasize that officer and director litigation risk is an important governance mechanism.
Keywords: Litigation risk, state corporate law, Nevada, agency costs
JEL Classification: M41, G18, G30, G32, G34, G38, K00, K41
Date posted: November 30, 2012 ; Last revised: February 13, 2014
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