Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department

Business Administration

Major Professor

Chris Pantzalis, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Delroy Hunter, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Ninon Sutton, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Jianping Qi, Ph.D.


Distance, CEO compensation, Insider trading, Agency problem, Director compensation


Previous literature have documented that the independent directors play a crucial goal in corporate governance but the research on the firm value and board independence remains inconclusive. In my dissertation, I examine the impact of independent directors' geographic proximity to corporate headquarters on the effectiveness of corporate boards and the motivations of board directors. Using a large sample of directors trading, I show that independent directors who live close to headquarters ("local director") earn higher abnormal returns on their trades than other directors, and that this advantage is stronger in small firms. Further, I find an inverse relationship between the number of local independent directors on the board and firm value. Companies with fewer local independent directors also have higher ROA ratios, lower abnormal CEO compensations, and higher CEO incentive compensations. Collectively, the findings suggest that local independent directors are more informed but less effective monitors. I also provided evidence that firms with a higher proportion of directors' incentive compensation are more likely to manage earnings. Directors are more likely to exercise options in the year following the firms' earnings management being in the top tercile of the sample. The results are robust after controlling for self-selection bias. Taken together, the evidence suggests that director incentive pay is more likely to align directors' interest with the CEO's, rather than to induce the directors to act in the best interest of the shareholders.