Public Defence: Irene Tan

Friday, August 10, 2018

Academic dissertation of Irene Tan (accounting) is presented for public defence at the University of Oulu, Oulu Business School on Friday August 10, 2018 at 12.00 (noon) in Arina Auditorium (TA105), in Linnanmaa Campus.

Topic: Essays on the effects of investor protection and financial structure on firm decisions and outcomes

Academic dissertation


The laws and financial structure of a country can affect firm decisions and outcomes by affecting financial constraints and agency problems. Power theories of credit suggest that the legal rights of creditors, such as the ability to grab collateral in bankruptcy, increase the willingness of lenders to extend credit. Shareholder protection can reduce information asymmetry and agency problems by mandating quality disclosures, stipulating approval procedures for potentially conflicted transactions and facilitating the private litigation process. The bank-based financial structure can reduce moral hazard by alleviating the free-rider problem in monitoring.

This dissertation contains various novel results. The first essay presents evidence of an inverse relation between creditor rights and the value of cash. This is consistent with financial constraints increasing the marginal value of cash, and creditor rights alleviating financial constraints. The second essay suggests that the bank-based financial structure improves the operating performance of large investments especially for diffusely held firms, consistent with the less prevalent free-rider problem in monitoring. The third essay shows that shareholder protection raises investment hazard for the smallest firms. This is consistent with the notion that shareholder protection alleviates those asymmetric information-related problems that delay investment, such as cash flow diversion by corporate insiders.

In addition to contributing to the scientific literature, the results of this dissertation can have practical implications for companies, suppliers of finance and policymakers. A value-maximizing company should take into account its legal environment when deciding on cash holdings. Suppliers of finance should consider the interplay between financial structure and ownership structure when evaluating the profitability of investments. Policymakers often encourage investments due to their effect on employment and tax income. The results of this dissertation show that investor protection increases the frequency of large investments and their profitability.

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Last updated: 20.12.2019