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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 ...


Defined Contribution Plans And The Challenge Of Financial Illiteracy, Jill E. Fisch, Annamaria Lusardi, Andrea Hasler Feb 2019

Defined Contribution Plans And The Challenge Of Financial Illiteracy, Jill E. Fisch, Annamaria Lusardi, Andrea Hasler

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Retirement investing in the United States has changed dramatically. The classic defined-benefit (DB) plan has largely been replaced by the defined contribution (DC) plan. With the latter, individual employees’ decisions about how much to save for retirement and how to invest those savings determine the benefits available upon retirement.

We analyze data from the 2015 National Financial Capability Study to show that people whose only exposure to investment decisions is by virtue of their participation in an employer-sponsored 401(k) plan are poorly equipped to make sound investment decisions. Specifically, they suffer from higher levels of financial illiteracy than other ...


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 Empty Idea Of “Equality Of Creditors”, David A. Skeel Jr. Jan 2018

The Empty Idea Of “Equality Of Creditors”, David A. Skeel Jr.

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

For two hundred years, the equality of creditors norm—the idea that similarly situated creditors should be treated similarly—has been widely viewed as the most important principle in American bankruptcy law, rivaled only by our commitment to a fresh start for honest but unfortunate debtors. I argue in this Article that the accolades are misplaced. Although the equality norm once was a rough proxy for legitimate concerns, such as curbing self-dealing, it no longer plays this role. Nor does it serve any other beneficial purpose.

Part I of this Article traces the historical emergence and evolution of the equality ...


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 ...


The Limits Of Performance-Based Regulation, Cary Coglianese Apr 2017

The Limits Of Performance-Based Regulation, Cary Coglianese

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Performance-based regulation is widely heralded as a superior approach to regulation. Rather than specifying the actions regulated entities must take, performance-based regulation instead requires the attainment of outcomes and gives flexibility in how to meet them. Despite nearly universal acclaim for performance-based regulation, the reasons supporting its use remain largely theoretical and conjectural. Owing in part to a lack of a clear conceptual taxonomy, researchers have yet to produce much empirical research documenting the strengths and weaknesses of performance-based regulation. In this Article, I provide a much-needed conceptual framework for understanding and assessing performance-based regulation. After defining performance-based regulation and ...


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 ...


The Bylaw Puzzle In Delaware Corporate Law, David A. Skeel Jr. Jan 2017

The Bylaw Puzzle In Delaware Corporate Law, David A. Skeel Jr.

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

In less than a decade, Delaware’s legislature has overruled its courts and reshaped Delaware corporate law on two different occasions, with proxy access bylaws in 2009 and with shareholder litigation bylaws in 2015. Having two dramatic interventions in quick succession would be puzzling under any circumstances. The interventions are doubly puzzling because with proxy access, Delaware’s legislature authorized the use of bylaws or charter provisions that Delaware’s courts had banned; while with shareholder litigation, it banned bylaws or charter provisions that the courts had authorized. This Article attempts to unravel the puzzle.

I start with corporate law ...


Protecting One's Own Privacy In A Big Data Economy, Anita L. Allen Dec 2016

Protecting One's Own Privacy In A Big Data Economy, Anita L. Allen

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Big Data is the vast quantities of information amenable to large-scale collection, storage, and analysis. Using such data, companies and researchers can deploy complex algorithms and artificial intelligence technologies to reveal otherwise unascertained patterns, links, behaviors, trends, identities, and practical knowledge. The information that comprises Big Data arises from government and business practices, consumer transactions, and the digital applications sometimes referred to as the “Internet of Things.” Individuals invisibly contribute to Big Data whenever they live digital lifestyles or otherwise participate in the digital economy, such as when they shop with a credit card, get treated at a hospital, apply ...


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 ...


Motivating Without Mandates: The Role Of Voluntary Programs In Environmental Governance, Cary Coglianese, Jennifer Nash Jun 2016

Motivating Without Mandates: The Role Of Voluntary Programs In Environmental Governance, Cary Coglianese, Jennifer Nash

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

For the last several decades, governments around the world have tried to use so-called voluntary programs to motivate private firms to act proactively to protect the environment. Unlike conventional environmental regulation, voluntary programs offer businesses flexibility to adopt cost-effective measures to reduce environmental impacts. Rather than prodding firms to act through threats of enforcement, they aim to entice firms to move forward by offering various kinds of positive incentives, ranging from public recognition to limited forms of regulatory relief. Despite the theoretical appeal of voluntary programs, their proper role in government’s environmental toolkit depends on the empirical evidence of ...


Optimizing Government For An Optimizing Economy, Cary Coglianese Jan 2016

Optimizing Government For An Optimizing Economy, Cary Coglianese

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Much entrepreneurial growth in the United States today emanates from technological advances that optimize through contextualization. Innovations as varied as Airbnb and Uber, fintech firms and precision medicine, are transforming major sectors in the economy by customizing goods and services as well as refining matches between available resources and interested buyers. The technological advances that make up the optimizing economy create new challenges for government oversight of the economy. Traditionally, government has overseen economic activity through general regulations that aim to treat all individuals equally; however, in the optimizing economy, business is moving in the direction of greater individualization, not ...


Of Property And Information, Abraham Bell, Gideon Parchomovsky Jan 2016

Of Property And Information, Abraham Bell, Gideon Parchomovsky

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

The property-information interface is perhaps the most crucial and under-theorized dimension of property law. Information about property can make or break property rights. Information about assets and property rights can dramatically enhance the value of ownership. Conversely, dearth of information can significantly reduce the benefit associated with ownership. It is surprising, therefore, that contemporary property theorists do not engage in sustained analysis of the property-information interface and in particular of registries — the repositories of information about property.

Once, things were different. In the past, discussions of registries used to be a core topic in property classes and a focal point ...


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 Importance Of Being Dismissive: The Efficiency Role Of Pleading Stage Evaluation Of Shareholder Litigation, Lawrence A. Hamermesh, Michael L. Wachter Aug 2015

The Importance Of Being Dismissive: The Efficiency Role Of Pleading Stage Evaluation Of Shareholder Litigation, Lawrence A. Hamermesh, Michael L. Wachter

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

It has been claimed that the risk/reward dynamics of shareholder litigation have encouraged quick settlements with substantial attorneys’ fee awards but no payment to shareholders, regardless of the merits of the case. Fee-shifting charter and bylaw provisions may be too blunt a tool to control agency costs associated with excessive shareholder litigation, and are in any event now prohibited by Delaware statute. We claim, however, that active judicial supervision of public company shareholder litigation at an early stage reduces the costs of frivolous litigation to shareholders by separating meritorious from unmeritorious litigation before the full costs of discovery are ...


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 ...


A Signal Or A Silo? Title Vii's Unexpected Hegemony, Sophia Z. Lee Jan 2015

A Signal Or A Silo? Title Vii's Unexpected Hegemony, Sophia Z. Lee

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Title VII’s domination of employment discrimination law today was not inevitable. Indeed, when Title VII was initially enacted, its supporters viewed it as weak and flawed. They first sought to strengthen and improve the law by disseminating equal employment enforcement throughout the federal government. Only in the late 1970s did they instead favor consolidating enforcement under Title VII. Yet to labor historians and legal scholars, Title VII’s triumphs came at a steep cost to unions. They write wistfully of an alternative regime that would have better harmonized antidiscrimination with labor law’s recognition of workers’ right to organize ...


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 ...


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 ...


Empowering Employees To Prevent Fraud In Nonprofit Organizations, John M. Bradley Jan 2015

Empowering Employees To Prevent Fraud In Nonprofit Organizations, John M. Bradley

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

This Article examines the significant problem of fraud within nonprofit organizations and demonstrates that current anti-fraud measures do not adequately reflect the important role employees play in perpetuating or stopping fraudulent activity. Psychological and organizational behavior studies have established the importance of (1) participation and (2) peers in shaping the behavior of individuals within the organizational context. This Article builds on that research and establishes that to successfully combat fraud, organizations must integrate employees into the design, implementation, and enforcement of anti-fraud strategy and procedures. Engaged, empowered employees will be less likely to commit fraud and more likely to dissuade ...


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 ...


U.S. Vs. European Broadband Deployment: What Do The Data Say?, Christopher S. Yoo Jun 2014

U.S. Vs. European Broadband Deployment: What Do The Data Say?, Christopher S. Yoo

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

As the Internet becomes more important to the everyday lives of people around the world, commentators have tried to identify the best policies increasing the deployment and adoption of high-speed broadband technologies. Some claim that the European model of service-based competition, induced by telephone-style regulation, has outperformed the facilities-based competition underlying the US approach to promoting broadband deployment. The mapping studies conducted by the US and the EU for 2011 and 2012 reveal that the US led the EU in many broadband metrics.

• High-Speed Access: A far greater percentage of US households had access to Next Generation Access (NGA) networks ...