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Theses Doctoral

Essays in Ownership Structure and Corporate Governance

Shi, Fangzhou

This dissertation delves into ownership structure and corporate governance. The first chapter investigates the causal link between business group affiliation and new firms' profitability. To overcome selection issues related to group affiliation, I focus on ownership changes at least two levels away in the ownership chain that lead to a change in group affiliation. I provide evidence suggesting that these "unintentional" changes are likely exogenous. I find that business group affiliation leads to a 12% increase in new firms' profitability during the first six years. I further present evidence consistent with two channels. First, new firms quickly increase revenues and expand market shares after joining business groups, possibly leveraging on groups' marketing networks. Second, group affiliation triggers a higher ratio of top manager turnover and leads to more experienced top managers and more productive employees. It is possible that business groups provide a talent pool of managers and better monitor new firms' labor force. Results suggest that business groups parallel the role of venture capital firms in sponsoring new firms in economies with concentrated equity ownership.
The second chapter examines the impact of input and product market competition on private benefits of control (PBC), as measured by the voting premia between shares with differential voting rights. The main findings are three. First, increases in the intensity of competition lead to lower estimates of PBC. Second, competition significantly reduces the dispersion in the voting premia, affecting especially the top of the PBC distribution. Third, competition effects are particularly prominent in weak-rule-of-law countries, in manufacturing industries and in less-profitable firms. Overall, the results show that competition leads to a meaningful reduction in the level and dispersion of PBC.
The third chapter directly examines the correlation between insider trading and executive compensation at the firm level. Using panel data on US firms from 1992 to 2011, we find that 1% decrease in cash compensation leads to a 21.7 percentage points increase in 6-month buy-and-hold excess returns, as well as a large increase in trading profits. These results indicate that insiders are using insider trading as a substitute to cash compensation, and keeping the total direct compensation level less volatile than previous research relied on. This effect is robust to exogenous shock to insider trading return, such as Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002. The result suggests the importance to take into account of insider trading profit in context of executive compensation.

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More About This Work

Academic Units
Business
Thesis Advisors
Wolfenzon, Daniel
Degree
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
October 16, 2015
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