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School of Law, Villanova University




Managerial agency costs are ubiquitous in the modern public corporation. Agency costs arise from the separation of ownership and control and reflect the divergence between share-value-maximizing actions of managers and managers’ actual actions, plus the monitoring and bonding expenditures (including contracting costs) undertaken to reduce that divergence. Agency costs vary firm by firm, but regulatory actions and even business practices can have a systematic impact on agency costs. For example, increased or decreased enforcement of insider trading rules can affect agency costs across a wide spectrum of companies. Who bears the burden of corporate agency costs? Who gains or suffers when agency costs rise or fall systematically? To the extent that corporate governance experts have considered this question, they have assumed, explicitly or implicitly, that shareholders bear these costs as the recipients of residual corporate returns.

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