Munich Personal RePEc Archive

Share Repurchases and Board Independence

Grosman, Anna and Amore, Mario Daniele (2021): Share Repurchases and Board Independence.

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Abstract

Share repurchases have come under criticism as they may be used for earnings management and take capital away from productive investment. However, share repurchases can also reduce the agency costs of free cash flow and offset the dilution of current shareholders. Whether firms engage in good or manipulative share repurchases can crucially hinge on the quality of corporate governance. Using UK firm panel data, we study the effect of independent directors on repurchase policies. Our results indicate that board independence increases the propensity to engage in share repurchases. Moreover, board independence attenuates the harmful effect of manipulative share repurchases on employment growth. Our approach exploits the passage of a corporate governance reform which provided a unique opportunity to tease out the causal impact of independent directors on share repurchases. Our findings advocate in favor of more active involvement of independent directors in payout policies.

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