See Also: Are You Collecting the Data You Need to Run Your Business? Average Cost Sunk Costs Restructuring Expense Joint CostsCommercial Agents
Agency costs are internal costs incurred from asymmetric information or conflicts of interest between principals and agents in an organization.
In a corporation, the principals would be the shareholders and the agents would be the managers. The shareholders want the managers to run the company in a way that maximizes shareholder value. The managers, on the other hand, may want to run the company in a way that maximizes the managers' own personal power or wealth, even if it lowers the market value of the company. These divergent interests can result in agency costs. There are three common types of agency costs: monitoring, bonding, and residual loss. Monitoring costs
are incurred when the principals attempt to monitor or restrict the actions of agents. For example, the board of directors at a company acts on behalf of shareholders to monitor and restrict the activities of management to ensure behavior that maximizes shareholder value. The cost of having a board of directors is therefore, at least to some extent, considered an agency monitoring cost. Costs associated with issuing financial statements and employee stock options are also monitoring costs. Bonding costs
are incurred by the agent. An agent may commit to contractual obligations that limit or restrict the agent’s activity. For example, a manager may agree to stay with a company even if the company is acquired. The manager must forego other potential employment opportunities. That implicit cost would be considered an agency bonding cost. Residual losses
are the costs incurred from divergent principal and agent interests despite the use of monitoring and bonding.