Does Corporate Governance Matter in Competitive Industries?
48 Pages Posted: 9 Aug 2007 Last revised: 27 Dec 2007
Date Written: December 2007
By reducing the fear of a hostile takeover, business combination (BC) laws weaken corporate governance and create more opportunity for managerial slack. Using the passage of BC laws as a source of variation in corporate governance, we examine if these laws have a different effect on firms in competitive and non-competitive industries. We find that while firms in non-competitive industries experience a significant drop in performance after the laws' passage, firms in competitive industries experience virtually no effect. While consistent with the general notion that competition mitigates managerial agency problems, our results are, in particular, supportive of the (stronger) Alchian-Friedman-Stigler hypothesis that competitive industries leave no room for managerial slack. When we examine which agency problem competition mitigates, we find evidence in support of a "quiet-life" hypothesis. While capital expenditures are unaffected by the passage of the BC laws, input costs, wages, and overhead costs all increase, and only so in non-competitive industries. We also conduct event studies around the dates of the first newspaper reports about the BC laws. We find that while firms in non-competitive industries experience a significant stock price decline, firms in competitive industries experience a small and insignificant price impact.
Keywords: corporate governance, business combination laws, product market competition
JEL Classification: G14, G32, G34, K22
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation