Agency conflicts and risk management

This paper analyzes the relation between agency conflicts and risk management. In contrast to previous contributions, our analysis incorporates not only stockholder-debtholder conflicts but also manager – stockholder conflicts. We show that the costs of both underinvestment and overinvestment are essential in determining the firm’s hedging policy. In particular, firms that derive more of their value from assets in place (lower market-to-book ratios), although having lower costs of underinvestment, generally display larger costs of overinvestment. Thus, they may be more likely to hedge to control these overinvestment incentives. Our analysis explains why large profitable firms with fewer growth opportunities tend to hedge more (Bartram et al., 2004). It also provides a number of new predictions relating the benefits associated with risk management to various dimensions of the firm’s economic environment.

Published in:
Review of Finance, 11, 1, 1-23

 Record created 2013-09-18, last modified 2019-12-05

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