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좋은 기업지배구조가 어떻게 기업가치를 제고시키는가? : 이사회 독립성과 현금의 보유

  • 강윤식 강원대학교 경영대학 조교수
  • 국찬표 서강대학교 경영대학 교수(前)
  • 윤진수 한국기업지배구조원 부연구위원
본 연구는 기업지배구조가 어떻게 기업가치 제고에 기여하는 가를 알아보고자 대리인 이론에 근거하여 이사회의 독립성이 기업들이 보유하고 있는 현금성자산의 수준과 효율적 배분 및 가치에 대해 미치는 영향을 실증적으로 분석하고 있다. 이를 위해 본 연구는 2001회계연도부터 2010회계연도까지 한국 상장기업의 전체 사외이사를 독립 적인 사외이사와 비독립적인 사외이사로 구분하여 독립적 사외이사 비율과 비독립적 사외이사 비율을 산출하여 이용하였다. 이러한 본 연구는 기업의 주요 자원인 현금성 자산에 내재되어 있는 대리인 비용을 통제하기 위하여 이사회의 실질적인 독립성이 중요하다는 점을 강조하고 있다. 실증분석 결과에 따르면 이사회의 독립성 수준이 높은 기업일수록 현금성 자산의 보유 수준이 낮고, 현금성 자산을 효율적으로 배분하고 있으며, 그리고 현금성 자산에 대한 시장의 평가가치가 높게 나타났다. 이러한 연구 결과는 이사회의 독립성 수준에 따라 현금보유의 가치가 다르다는 점을 보여주고 있으며, 따라서 경영자의 사적유용 행위를 방지하여 기업가치를 제고하고 투자자의 권리를 보호하기 위해서는 이사회의 실질적인 독립성 개선이 필요하다는 근거를 제시 하고 있다.
독립적 사외이사; 이사회 독립성; 현금성 자산; 효율적 배분; 기업가치; Agency Cost; Board Independence; Cash Holdings; Corporate Governance; Firm Value

How Does Good Corporate Governance Contribute to Firm Value?: Board Independence and Firm’s Cash Holdings

  • Yun-Sik Kang
  • Chan-Pyo Kook
  • Jin-Soo Yoon
This study empirically analyzes the relationship between corporate governance and cash holdings in Korea, a representative emerging market, using its data of listed firms with interests in contradictory recent research results concerning corporate governance and cash holdings. The variables used as proxies to represent types of corporate governance are very important. Unlike previous studies, this study uses the independence of boards as a proxy variable for corporate governance level because boards play a crucial role in monitoring management and simultaneously implementing decision-making processes. In addition, a principal decision-making process carried out by a board aims to protect investor profit and enhance firm value by efficiently allocating firm resources, and previous research has emphasized that independence is important to boards’ effective functioning. To measure board independence, we use the ratios of independent and non-independent outside directors used in previous studies, drawing on a very large amount of data gathered on the individual outside directors of Korean listed firms for the 2001-2010 period. Based on these data, the ratios of independent and non-independent directors are extracted after classifying two types of outside directors by setting up more stringent criteria, which include the educational and vocational backgrounds of individual outside directors as well as their legal qualifications. In this way, the study considers the importance of independent outside directors by empirically analyzing the effect of each ratio, and highlights that board independence originates with independent outside directors. More specifically, we provide empirical evidence in relation to the following three main questions. (1) Does the amount of cash holdings differ according to the degree of corporate governance (board independence) in Korean listed firms? (2) Are cash resources efficiently allocated according to the degree of corporate governance (board independence) in Korean listed firms? (3) Does the value of cash holdings differ and consequently affect firm value according to the degree of corporate governance (board independence) in Korean listed firms? The empirical results can be summarized as follows. First, when a board becomes more independent, the firm’s cash holdings decreases, while cash outflow increases. As the board’s independence grows, it is able to more efficiently control managers’ incentives to accumulate cash resources internally. Second, as board independence increases, high-growth opportunity firms may increase their investment options, while low-growth opportunity firms may increase their dividend options. Our analysis of the interaction between board independence and cash holdings in investments and dividends, according to growth opportunity, indicates that its effects on dividends were significant, but its effects on investments were not. In firms with high growth opportunity, as the ratio of non-independent outside directors increases, internally held cash is not spent on investments but on dividends, which confirms that the firms’ growth opportunities are not being used efficiently. In contrast, in firms with low growth opportunity, as the ratio of independent outside directors increases, managers are prohibited by the board from spending internally held cash, which instead is likely to be spent on dividends. Finally, firm value increases in firms with higher levels of board independence and more cash holdings. In other words, as board independence increases, investors value cash holdings more highly. This indicates that the value of cash holdings differs according to the type of corporate governance. Our findings confirm that the relationship between board independence and cash holdings in Korea, an emerging market, is different from that in the U.S., a well-developed market. More importantly, this study enables us to understand how good corporate governance enhances firm value. It shows that in firms with high board independence, the market estimates that the monitoring function of the board works effectively and that cash holdings are not exploited for managers’ private benefit; instead, they are allocated efficiently according to the firm’s characteristics, such as to growth opportunities. This market view is then reflected in the valuation of cash holdings, which in turn increases firm value.