Principal–Principal Conflict in the Governance of the Chinese Public Corporation



abstract  By examining the level of ownership concentration across firms, we determine how principal–principal conflict, defined as the incongruence of ownership goals among shareholder groups in a corporation, impacts agency costs of Chinese boards of directors. Based on data from Chinese companies listed on the Shanghai and Shenzhen stock exchanges during 1999–2003, we found that ownership concentration had a U-shaped relationship with board compensation, board size and the presence of independent directors. These results provide corroborating evidence that principal–principal conflict can lead to high agency costs.