What Do Boards Do? Evidence from Board Committee and Director Compensation Data
38 Pages Posted: 2 Sep 2005
Date Written: March 13, 2003
This paper uses data on 1542 board committees and director compensation in a sample of 352 Fortune 500 companies in 1998 to analyze variation in board behavior. I use this data to quantify the amount of effort boards devote to their three different functions: monitoring, dealing with strategic issues and considering the interests of stakeholders. I show that boards appear to take their traditional oversight role seriously, since on average boards devote effort primarily to monitoring. However, there is a fair amount of variation across firms in the amount of effort boards devote to their different functions. In particular boards of larger firms and firms that face more uncertainty devote relatively less effort to monitoring, while boards of diversified firms devote relatively more effort to monitoring. Boards of larger, growing and older firms devote more effort to stakeholder interests on both an absolute and a relative basis. Finally, boards of growing firms devote relatively more effort to strategic issues.
Keywords: Board of Directors; Committee, Compensation, Effort, Monitoring, Strategy, Stakeholder
JEL Classification: G30, G34, J31, J33, J44
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation