An empirical study to detect agency problems in listed corporations: The emerging market study

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Hakeem Hammood Flayyih ORCID logo, Wided Khiari ORCID logo

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The aim of this paper is to shed the light on the concepts of agency theory by measuring one of the problems that arise from it, which is represented by earnings management (EM) practices. The research problem is demonstrated by the failure of some Iraqi banks and their subsequent placement under the supervision of the Central Bank of Iraq, which was attributed, in part, to the inadequacy of the agency model in protecting stakeholders in shareholding institutions, as well as EM, pushed professional institutions to adopt the corporate governance model as a method to regulate the problem of accounting information asymmetry between the parties to the agency. We are using the Beneish M-score model and the financial analysis equations in the Beneish model for bank data for both the income statement and the financial position to do so. The sample includes 30 Iraqi banks listed on the Iraq Stock Exchange from 2014 to 2017, with the goal of inferring agency problems through EM practices. The results show that there are problems for the agency in the research sample banks throughout the research periods, and the percentages of those problems vary from one year to another. Apart from detecting agency problems, the art of financial ratios that have been used can be useful for auditors in conducting financial analyses, and thus they can be used as tools to detect fraud, given those agency problems resulting from profit manipulation are only aspects of fraud in the financial statements.

Keywords: Agency Theory, Agency Problems, Stewardship, Earnings Management

Authors’ individual contribution: Conceptualization — H.H.F. and W.K.; Methodology — H.H.F. and W.K.; Formal Analysis — H.H.F.; Investigation — H.H.F. and W.K.; Data Curation — H.H.F.; Writing — Original Draft — H.H.F.; Writing — Review & Editing — H.H.F. and W.K.; Visualization — H.H.F. and W.K.; Supervision — W.K.; Project Administration — W.K.

Declaration of conflicting interests: The Authors declare that there is no conflict of interest.

JEL Classification: G01, G38, M41, M42, M49, H83

Received: 11.05.2022
Accepted: 27.02.2023
Published online: 01.03.2023

How to cite this paper: Flayyih, H. H., & Khiari, W. (2023). An empirical study to detect agency problems in listed corporations: The emerging market study [Special issue]. Journal of Governance & Regulation, 12(1), 208–217.