Document Type



Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Business Administration

First Advisor's Name

Ali M. Parhizgari

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Chair

Second Advisor's Name

Edward Lawrence

Second Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Member

Third Advisor's Name

Sumit Kundu

Third Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Member

Fourth Advisor's Name

Qiang Kang

Fourth Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Member


Board of Directors, Board Independence, Gender Diversity, Securities Litigation, Workplace Safety

Date of Defense



This dissertation is comprised of three chapters that focus on the topics related to internal governance and litigation risk.

The first essay investigates the effect of board independence on security litigation risk. Based on the premise of the agency theory, our findings indicate that board independence has a negative impact on securities litigation risk. The effectiveness of this impact is also analyzed in light of the firm’s complexity and monitoring cost. The results show that board independence effectiveness is negatively related to the firm’s monitoring cost but is positively influenced by the firm’s complexity. Our results challenge the notions of ‘one-size-fits-all governance remedies’ to reduce litigation risk and are robust across several alternatives and nested variations, including considerations of endogeneity and heterogeneity.

The second essay examines the effect of gender diversity in boardroom on security litigation risk. Using panel data analyses from 1998 to 2017, we find that securities litigation risk is inversely related to the fraction of female independent directors on a company board. Additionally, the effectiveness of female independent directors in reducing litigation risk is negatively related to the firm’s monitoring cost and positively related to the firm’s complexity. We further investigate the channels through which female independent directors may reduce litigation risk, and attribute it to improvement in board participation and accounting conservatism.

The third essay studies the effect of board independence on corporate workplace safety. Using a sample of S&P 1500 firms’ establishments that participated in the Survey of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses by Occupational Safety and Health Administration, we find that board independence has a significant negative effect on workplace injury/illness rates. Further, results of the two-stage instrumental approach show that these findings are robust to endogeneity consideration. Our study contributes to literature on corporate governance effect on corporate social responsibility (CSR). Enhancing the Workplace safety is considered as one of the most important CSR activities since it substantially contributes to social welfare. We provide the empirical supports for the conflict resolution hypothesis which argues that more effective governance increases firms’ CSR activities.





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