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Full-Text Articles in Business Law, Public Responsibility, and Ethics

Centros, California’S “Women On Boards” Statute And The Scope Of Regulatory Competition, Jill E. Fisch, Steven Davidoff Solomon May 2019

Centros, California’S “Women On Boards” Statute And The Scope Of Regulatory Competition, Jill E. Fisch, Steven Davidoff Solomon

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

We examine the Centros decision through the lens of SB 826 – the California statute mandating a minimum number of women on boards. SB 826, like the Centros decision, raises questions about the scope of the internal affairs doctrine and its role in encouraging regulatory competition. Despite the claim that US corporate law is characterized by regulatory competition, in the US, the internal affairs doctrine has led to less variation in corporate law than in Europe. We theorize that this is due to the shareholder primacy norm in US corporate law which results in the internal affairs doctrine focusing on matters ...


Coin-Operated Capitalism, Shaanan Cohney, David A. Hoffman, Jeremy Sklaroff, David A. Wishnick Jan 2019

Coin-Operated Capitalism, Shaanan Cohney, David A. Hoffman, Jeremy Sklaroff, David A. Wishnick

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

This Article presents the legal literature’s first detailed analysis of the inner workings of Initial Coin Offerings. We characterize the ICO as an example of financial innovation, placing it in kinship with venture capital contracting, asset securitization, and (obviously) the IPO. We also take the form seriously as an example of technological innovation, where promoters are beginning to effectuate their promises to investors through computer code, rather than traditional contract. To understand the dynamics of this shift, we first collect contracts, “white papers,” and other contract-like documents for the fifty top-grossing ICOs of 2017. We then analyze how such ...


Capturing Regulatory Agendas?: An Empirical Study Of Industry Use Of Rulemaking Petitions, Daniel E. Walters Mar 2018

Capturing Regulatory Agendas?: An Empirical Study Of Industry Use Of Rulemaking Petitions, Daniel E. Walters

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

A great deal of skepticism toward administrative agencies stems from the widespread perception that they excessively or even exclusively cater to business interests. From the political right comes the accusation that business interests use regulation to erect barriers to entry that protect profits and stifle competition. From the political left comes the claim that business interests use secretive interactions with agencies to erode and negate beneficial regulatory programs. Regulatory “capture” theory elevates many of these claims to the status of economic law. Despite growing skepticism about capture theory in academic circles, empirical studies of business influence and capture return ambiguous ...


Progressive Antitrust, Herbert J. Hovenkamp Jan 2018

Progressive Antitrust, Herbert J. Hovenkamp

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Several American political candidates and administrations have both run and served under the “progressive” banner for more than a century, right through the 2016 election season. For the most part these have pursued interventionist antitrust policies, reflecting a belief that markets are fragile and in need of repair, that certain interest groups require greater protection, or in some cases that antitrust policy is an extended arm of regulation. This paper argues that most of this progressive antitrust policy was misconceived, including that reflected in the 2016 antitrust plank of the Democratic Party. The progressive state is best served by a ...


The Rule Of Reason, Herbert J. Hovenkamp Jan 2018

The Rule Of Reason, Herbert J. Hovenkamp

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Antitrust’s rule of reason was born out of a thirty-year (1897-1927) division among Supreme Court Justices about the proper way to assess multi-firm restraints on competition. By the late 1920s the basic contours of the rule for restraints among competitors was roughly established. Antitrust policy toward vertical restraints remained much more unstable, however, largely because their effects were so poorly understood.

This article provides a litigation field guide for antitrust claims under the rule of reason – or more precisely, for situations when application of the rule of reason is likely. At the time pleadings are drafted and even up ...


Governance By Contract: The Implications For Corporate Bylaws, Jill E. Fisch Jan 2018

Governance By Contract: The Implications For Corporate Bylaws, Jill E. Fisch

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Boards and shareholders are increasing using charter and bylaw provisions to customize their corporate governance. Recent examples include forum selection bylaws, majority voting bylaws and advance notice bylaws. Relying on the contractual conception of the corporation, Delaware courts have accorded substantial deference to board-adopted bylaw provisions, even those that limit shareholder rights.

This Article challenges the rationale for deference under the contractual approach. With respect to corporate bylaws, the Article demonstrates that shareholder power to adopt and amend the bylaws is, under Delaware law, more limited than the board’s power to do so. As a result, shareholders cannot effectively ...


Who Bleeds When The Wolves Bite? A Flesh-And-Blood Perspective On Hedge Fund Activism And Our Strange Corporate Governance System, Leo E. Strine Jr. Apr 2017

Who Bleeds When The Wolves Bite? A Flesh-And-Blood Perspective On Hedge Fund Activism And Our Strange Corporate Governance System, Leo E. Strine Jr.

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

This paper examines the effects of hedge fund activism and so-called wolf pack activity on the ordinary human beings—the human investors—who fund our capital markets but who, as indirect of owners of corporate equity, have only limited direct power to ensure that the capital they contribute is deployed to serve their welfare and in turn the broader social good.

Most human investors in fact depend much more on their labor than on their equity for their wealth and therefore care deeply about whether our corporate governance system creates incentives for corporations to create and sustain jobs for them ...


The Separation Of Corporate Law And Social Welfare, William W. Bratton Jan 2017

The Separation Of Corporate Law And Social Welfare, William W. Bratton

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

A half century ago, corporate legal theory pursued an institutional vision in which corporations and the law that creates them protect people from the ravages of volatile free markets. That vision was challenged on the ground during the 1980s, when corporate legal institutions and market forces came to blows over questions concerning hostile takeovers. By 1990, it seemed like the institutions had won. But a different picture has emerged as the years have gone by. It is now clear that the market side really won the battle of the 1980s, succeeding in entering a wedge between corporate law and social ...


Appraising Merger Efficiencies, Herbert J. Hovenkamp Jan 2017

Appraising Merger Efficiencies, Herbert J. Hovenkamp

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Mergers of business firms violate the antitrust laws when they threaten to lessen competition, which generally refers to a price increase resulting from a reduction in output. However, a merger that threatens competition may also enable the post-merger firm to reduce its costs or improve its product. Attitudes toward mergers are heavily driven by assumptions about efficiency gains. If mergers of competitors never produced efficiency gains but simply reduced the number of competitors, a strong presumption against them would be warranted. We tolerate most mergers because of a background, highly generalized belief that most or at least many produce cost ...


Mutually Assured Protection Among Large U.S. Law Firms, Tom Baker, Rick Swedloff Jan 2017

Mutually Assured Protection Among Large U.S. Law Firms, Tom Baker, Rick Swedloff

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Top law firms are notoriously competitive, fighting for prime clients and matters. But some of the most elite firms are also deeply cooperative, willingly sharing key details about their finances and strategy with their rivals. More surprisingly, they pay handsomely to do so. Nearly half of the AmLaw 100 and 200 belong to mutual insurance organizations that require member firms to provide capital; partner time; and important information about their governance, balance sheets, risk management, strategic plans, and malpractice liability. To answer why these firms do so when there are commercial insurers willing to provide coverage with fewer burdens, we ...


Avoiding The Pitfalls Of Net Uniformity: Zero Rating And Nondiscrimination, Christopher S. Yoo Nov 2016

Avoiding The Pitfalls Of Net Uniformity: Zero Rating And Nondiscrimination, Christopher S. Yoo

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

The current debate over network neutrality has not fully appreciated how service differentiation can benefit consumers and promote Internet adoption. On the demand-side, service differentiation addresses the primary obstacle to adoption, which is the lack of perceived need for Internet service, and reflects the growing heterogeneity of consumer demand. On the supply-side, monopolistic competition has long underscored how product differentiation can create stable equilibria with multiple providers – notwithstanding the presence of unexhausted economies of scale – by allowing competitors to target subsegments of the overall market that place a higher value on particular services. Conversely, prohibiting service differentiation would restrict competition ...


Antitrust Balancing, Herbert J. Hovenkamp Apr 2016

Antitrust Balancing, Herbert J. Hovenkamp

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Antitrust litigation often confronts situations where effects point in both directions. Judges sometimes describe the process of evaluating these factors as “balancing.” In its e-Books decision the Second Circuit believed that the need to balance is what justifies application of the rule of reason. In Microsoft the D.C. Circuit stated that “courts routinely apply a…balancing approach” under which “the plaintiff must demonstrate that the anticompetitive harm…outweighs the procompetitive benefit.” But then it decided the case without balancing anything.

The term “balancing” is a very poor label for what courts actually do in these cases. Balancing requires that ...


Copyright And Good Faith Purchasers, Shyamkrishna Balganesh Jan 2016

Copyright And Good Faith Purchasers, Shyamkrishna Balganesh

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Good faith purchasers for value — individuals who unknowingly and in good faith purchase property from a seller whose own actions in obtaining the property are of questionable legality — have long obtained special protection under the common law. Despite the seller’s own actions being tainted, such purchasers obtain valid title themselves and are allowed to freely alienate the property without any restriction. Modern copyright law, however, does just the opposite. Individuals who unknowingly and in good faith purchase property embodying an unauthorized copy of a protected work are altogether precluded from subsequently alienating such property, or risk running afoul of ...


From Promise To Form: How Contracting Online Changes Consumers, David A. Hoffman Jan 2016

From Promise To Form: How Contracting Online Changes Consumers, David A. Hoffman

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

I hypothesize that different experiences with online contracting have led some consumers to see contracts—both online and offline—in distinctive ways. Experimenting on a large, nationally representative sample, this paper provides evidence of age-based and experience-based differences in views of consumer contract formation and breach. I show that younger subjects who have entered into more online contracts are likelier than older ones to think that contracts can be formed online, that digital contracts are legitimate while oral contracts are not, and that contract law is unforgiving of breach.

I argue that such individual differences in views of contract formation ...


The New Synthesis Of Bank Regulation And Bankruptcy In The Dodd-Frank Era, David A. Skeel Jr. May 2015

The New Synthesis Of Bank Regulation And Bankruptcy In The Dodd-Frank Era, David A. Skeel Jr.

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Since the enactment of the Dodd-Frank Act in 2010, U.S. bank regulation and bankruptcy have become far more closely intertwined. In this Article, I ask whether the new synthesis of bank regulation and bankruptcy is coherent, and whether it is likely to prove effective.

I begin by exploring some of the basic differences between bank resolution, which is a highly administrative process in the U.S., and bankruptcy, which relies more on courts and the parties themselves. I then focus on a series of remarkable new innovations designed to facilitate the rapid recapitalization of systemically important financial institutions: convertible ...


From Chrysler And General Motors To Detroit, David A. Skeel Jr. Jan 2015

From Chrysler And General Motors To Detroit, David A. Skeel Jr.

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

In the past five years, three of the most remarkable bankruptcy cases in American history have come out of Detroit: the bankruptcies of Chrysler and General Motors in 2009, and of Detroit itself in 2012. The principal objective of this Article is simply to show that the Grand Bargain at the heart of the Detroit bankruptcy is the direct offspring of the bankruptcy sale transactions that were used to restructure Chrysler and GM. The proponents of Detroit’s “Grand Bargain” never would have dreamed up the transaction were it not for the federal government-engineered carmaker bankruptcies. The Article’s second ...


The Mess At Morgan: Risk, Incentives And Shareholder Empowerment, Jill E. Fisch Jan 2015

The Mess At Morgan: Risk, Incentives And Shareholder Empowerment, Jill E. Fisch

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

The financial crisis of 2008 focused increasing attention on corporate America and, in particular, the risk-taking behavior of large financial institutions. A growing appreciation of the “public” nature of the corporation resulted in a substantial number of high profile enforcement actions. In addition, demands for greater accountability led policymakers to attempt to harness the corporation’s internal decision-making structure, in the name of improved corporate governance, to further the interest of non-shareholder stakeholders. Dodd-Frank’s advisory vote on executive compensation is an example.

This essay argues that the effort to employ shareholders as agents of public values and, thereby, to ...


Introduction To Institutional Investor Activism: Hedge Funds And Private Equity, Economics And Regulation, William W. Bratton, Joseph A. Mccahery Jan 2015

Introduction To Institutional Investor Activism: Hedge Funds And Private Equity, Economics And Regulation, William W. Bratton, Joseph A. Mccahery

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

The increase in institutional ownership of recent decades has been accompanied by an enhanced role played by institutions in monitoring companies’ corporate governance behaviour. Activist hedge funds and private equity firms have achieved a degree of success in actively shaping the business plans of target firms. They may be characterized as pursuing a common goal – in the words used in the OECD Steering Group on Corporate Governance, both seek ‘to increase the market value of their pooled capital through active engagement with individual public companies. This engagement may include demands for changes in management, the composition of the board, dividend ...


Rediscovering Corporate Governance In Bankruptcy, David A. Skeel Jr. Jan 2015

Rediscovering Corporate Governance In Bankruptcy, David A. Skeel Jr.

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

In this Essay on Lynn LoPucki and Bill Whitford’s corporate reorganization project, written for a symposium honoring Bill Whitford, I begin by very briefly describing its historical antecedents. The project draws on the insights and perspectives of two closely intertwined traditions: the legal realism of 1930s, whose exemplars included William Douglas and other participants in the SEC study; and the law in action movement at the University of Wisconsin. In Section II, I briefly survey the key contributions of the corporate governance project, which punctured the then-conventional wisdom about the treatment of shareholders in bankruptcy, managers’ principal allegiance, and ...


Federal Securities Fraud Litigation As A Lawmaking Partnership, Jill E. Fisch Jan 2015

Federal Securities Fraud Litigation As A Lawmaking Partnership, Jill E. Fisch

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

In its most recent Halliburton II decision, the Supreme Court rejected an effort to overrule its prior decision in Basic Inc. v. Levinson. The Court reasoned that adherence to Basic was warranted by principles of stare decisis that operate with “special force” in the context of statutory interpretation. This Article offers an alternative justification for adhering to Basic—the collaboration between the Court and Congress that has led to the development of the private class action for federal securities fraud. The Article characterizes this collaboration as a lawmaking partnership and argues that such a partnership offers distinctive lawmaking advantages.

Halliburton ...


Moore’S Law, Metcalfe’S Law, And The Theory Of Optimal Interoperability, Christopher S. Yoo Jan 2015

Moore’S Law, Metcalfe’S Law, And The Theory Of Optimal Interoperability, Christopher S. Yoo

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Many observers attribute the Internet’s success to two principles: Moore’s Law and Metcalfe’s Law. These precepts are often cited to support claims that larger networks are inevitably more valuable and that costs in a digital environment always decrease. This Article offers both a systematic description of both laws and then challenges the conventional wisdom by exploring their conceptual limitations. It also explores how alternative mechanisms, such as gateways and competition, can permit the realization benefits typically attributed to Moore’s Law and Metcalfe’s Law without requiring increases in network size.


The (Il)Legitimacy Of Bankruptcies For The Benefit Of Secured Creditors, Charles W. Mooney Jr. Jan 2015

The (Il)Legitimacy Of Bankruptcies For The Benefit Of Secured Creditors, Charles W. Mooney Jr.

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

This paper explores the legitimacy—or illegitimacy—of filing and maintaining a case under the Bankruptcy Code when the sole or principal beneficiary or beneficiaries of the case would be a secured creditor or secured creditors. In the situation posited here, the application of the usual distributional priority rules would not produce any distribution for the general, unsecured creditors of the debtor. In the prototypical case virtually all of the assets of the debtor would be subject to secured claims securing obligations that exceed the value of the collateral, i.e., the secured creditor would be undersecured and there would ...


Framing A Purpose For Corporate Law, William W. Bratton Jul 2014

Framing A Purpose For Corporate Law, William W. Bratton

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

This article seeks to frame a short statement of purpose for corporate law on which all reasonable observers can agree. The statement, in order to succeed at its intended purpose, must satisfy two strict conditions: first, it must have enough content to be meaningful; second, it must be completely uncontroversial, both descriptively and normatively. The exercise, thus described, involves avoiding the issues that occupy center stage in discussions about corporate law while at the same time highlighting the discussants’ generally held presuppositions. Three closely interconnected issues arise. First, whether the statement of the purpose of corporate law should speak in ...


Behaviorism In Finance And Securities Law, David A. Skeel Jr. Jan 2014

Behaviorism In Finance And Securities Law, David A. Skeel Jr.

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

In this Essay, I take stock (as something of an outsider) of the behavioral economics movement, focusing in particular on its interaction with traditional cost-benefit analysis and its implications for agency structure. The usual strategy for such a project—a strategy that has been used by others with behavioral economics—is to marshal the existing evidence and critically assess its significance. My approach in this Essay is somewhat different. Although I describe behavioral economics and summarize the strongest criticisms of its use, the heart of the Essay is inductive, and focuses on a particular context: financial and securities regulation, as ...


Performance Track’S Postmortem: Lessons From The Rise And Fall Of Epa’S “Flagship” Voluntary Program, Cary Coglianese, Jennifer Nash Jan 2014

Performance Track’S Postmortem: Lessons From The Rise And Fall Of Epa’S “Flagship” Voluntary Program, Cary Coglianese, Jennifer Nash

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

For nearly a decade, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) considered its National Environmental Performance Track to be its “flagship” voluntary program — even a model for transforming the conventional system of environmental regulation. Since Performance Track’s founding during the Clinton Administration, EPA officials repeatedly claimed that the program’s rewards attracted hundreds of the nation’s “top” environmental performers and induced these businesses to make significant environmental gains beyond legal requirements. Although EPA eventually disbanded Performance Track early in the Obama Administration, the program has been subsequently emulated by a variety of state and federal regulatory authorities. To ...


Reinventing Copyright And Patent, Abraham Bell, Gideon Parchomovsky Jan 2014

Reinventing Copyright And Patent, Abraham Bell, Gideon Parchomovsky

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Intellectual property systems all over the world are modeled on the one-size-fits-all principle. However important or unimportant, inventions and original works of authorship receive the same scope of protection, for the same period, backed by the same variety of legal remedies. Metaphorically speaking, all intellectual property is equal under the law. This equality comes at a heavy price. The equality principle gives all creators access to the same remedies, even when those remedies create perverse incentives. Moreover, society overpays for innovation by inflicting on society more monopoly losses than are strictly necessary to incentivize production.

In this Article, we propose ...


Corporate Governance And Social Welfare In The Common Law World, David A. Skeel Jr. Jan 2014

Corporate Governance And Social Welfare In The Common Law World, David A. Skeel Jr.

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

The newest addition to the spate of recent theories of comparative corporate governance is Corporate Governance in the Common-Law World: The Political Foundations of Shareholder Power, an important new book by Christopher Bruner. Focusing on the U.S., the U.K., Canada and Australia, Bruner argues that the robustness of the country’s social welfare system is the key determinant of the extent to which its corporate governance is shareholder-centered. This explains why corporate governance is so shareholder-oriented in the United Kingdom, which has universal healthcare and generous unemployment benefits, while shareholders’ powers are more attenuated in the United States ...


Wickard For The Internet? Network Neutrality After Verizon V. Fcc, Christopher S. Yoo Jan 2014

Wickard For The Internet? Network Neutrality After Verizon V. Fcc, Christopher S. Yoo

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

The D.C. Circuit’s January 2014 decision in Verizon v. FCC represented a major milestone in the debate over network neutrality that has dominated communications policy for the past decade. This article analyzes the implications of the D.C. Circuit’s ruling, beginning with a critique of the court’s ruling that section 706 of the Telecommunications Act of 1996 gave the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) the authority to mandate some form of network neutrality. Examination of the statute’s text, application of canons of construction such as ejusdem generis and noscitur a sociis, and a perusal of the ...


Bankruptcy And Economic Recovery, Thomas H. Jackson, David A. Skeel Jr. Jul 2013

Bankruptcy And Economic Recovery, Thomas H. Jackson, David A. Skeel Jr.

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

To measure economic growth or recovery, one traditionally looks to metrics such as the unemployment rate and the growth in GDP. And in terms of figuring out institutional policies that will stimulate economic growth, the focus most often is on policies that encourage investment, entrepreneurial enterprises, and reward risk-taking with appropriate returns. Bankruptcy academics that we are, we tend to add our own area of expertise to this stable— with the firm belief that thinking critically about bankruptcy policy is an important element of any set of institutions designed to speed economic recovery. In this paper, written for a book ...


When The Government Is The Controlling Shareholder, Marcel Kahan, Edward B. Rock May 2011

When The Government Is The Controlling Shareholder, Marcel Kahan, Edward B. Rock

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

As a result of the 2008 bailouts, the United States Government is now the controlling shareholder in AIG, Citigroup, GM, GMAC, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Corporate law provides a complex and comprehensive set of standards of conduct to protect non-controlling shareholders from controlling shareholders who have goals other than maximizing firm value. In this article, we analyze the extent to which these existing corporate law structures of accountability apply when the government is the controlling shareholder, and the extent to which federal “public law” structures substitute for displaced state “private law” norms. We show that the Delaware restrictions on ...