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Reconsidering The Evolutionary Erosion Account Of Corporate Fiduciary Law, William W. Bratton Jan 2021

Reconsidering The Evolutionary Erosion Account Of Corporate Fiduciary Law, William W. Bratton

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

This Article reconsiders the dominant account of corporate law’s duty of loyalty, which asserts that the courts have steadily relaxed standards of fiduciary scrutiny applied to self-dealing by corporate managers across more than a century of history—to the great detriment of the shareholder interest. The account originated in Harold Marsh, Jr.’s foundational article, Are Directors Trustees? Conflicts of Interest and Corporate Morality, published in The Business Lawyer in 1966. Marsh’s showing of historical lassitude has been successfully challenged in a recent book by Professor David Kershaw. This Article takes Professor Kershaw’s critique a step further ...


A Babe In The Woods: An Essay On Kirby Lumber And The Evolution Of Corporate Law, Lawrence Hamermesh Dec 2020

A Babe In The Woods: An Essay On Kirby Lumber And The Evolution Of Corporate Law, Lawrence Hamermesh

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

This essay examines the development of corporate law during the time span of the author's career, focusing on the interrelated subjects of valuation, corporate purpose, and shareholder litigation.


Antitrust And Platform Monopoly, Herbert J. Hovenkamp Nov 2020

Antitrust And Platform Monopoly, Herbert J. Hovenkamp

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Are large digital platforms that deal directly with consumers “winner take all,” or natural monopoly, firms? That question is surprisingly complex and does not produce the same answer for every platform. The closer one looks at digital platforms the less they seem to be winner-take-all. As a result, competition can be made to work in most of them. Further, antitrust enforcement, with its accommodation of firm variety, is generally superior to any form of statutory regulation that generalizes over large numbers.

Assuming that an antitrust violation is found, what should be the remedy? Breaking up large firms subject to extensive ...


Network Effects In Action, Christopher S. Yoo Nov 2020

Network Effects In Action, Christopher S. Yoo

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

This Chapter begins by examining and exploring the theoretical and empirical limits of the possible bases of network effects, paying particular attention to the most commonly cited framework known as Metcalfe’s Law. It continues by exploring the concept of network externalities, defined as the positive external consumption benefits that the decision to join a network creates for the other members of the network, which is more ambiguous than commonly realized. It then reviews the structural factors needed for models based on network effects to have anticompetitive effects and identifies other factors that can dissipate those effects. Finally, it identifies ...


The Costs Of Critical Habitat Or Owl’S Well That Ends Well, Jonathan Klick, J.B. Ruhl Nov 2020

The Costs Of Critical Habitat Or Owl’S Well That Ends Well, Jonathan Klick, J.B. Ruhl

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

When the Fish and Wildlife Service designated land in four counties of Arizona as “critical habitat” necessary for the protection of the endangered cactus ferruginous pygmy‐owl, property values dropped considerably. When the owl was later delisted, property values jumped back up. We use difference-in-difference and synthetic control designs to identify this effect with Zillow property value data. The results provide an estimate of the costs of this critical habitat designation, and they are considerable, contrary to the regulators’ position that critical habitat protection imposes no incremental costs beyond the original endangered species listing.


Toward Racial Equality: The Most Important Things The Business Community Can Do, Leo E. Strine Jr. Oct 2020

Toward Racial Equality: The Most Important Things The Business Community Can Do, Leo E. Strine Jr.

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

In this address, former Chief Justice Strine kicked-off an important series, the Conference on Racial Equity in Corporate Governance, co-sponsored by the Millstein Center for Global Markets and Corporate Governance, Columbia Law School; the Institute for Law & Economics, University of Pennsylvania; the Rock Center for Corporate Governance, Stanford University; and the Stanford Center for Racial Justice, Stanford Law School.

The address explains the importance of institutional investors and corporations contributing to ending the persistent inequality suffered by black Americans. And it focuses on the reality that we would have made huge strides toward closing the race gap if our corporate governance and political systems ...


Competitive Harm From Vertical Mergers, Herbert J. Hovenkamp Oct 2020

Competitive Harm From Vertical Mergers, Herbert J. Hovenkamp

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

The antitrust enforcement Agencies' 2020 Vertical Merger Guidelines introduce a nontechnical application of bargaining theory into the assessment of competitive effects from vertical acquisitions. The economics of such bargaining is complex and can produce skepticism among judges, who might regard its mathematics as overly technical, its game theory as excessively theoretical or speculative, or its assumptions as unrealistic.

However, we have been there before. The introduction of concentration indexes, particularly the HHI, in the Merger Guidelines was initially met with skepticism but gradually they were accepted as judges became more comfortable with them. The same thing very largely happened again ...


Stewardship 2021: The Centrality Of Institutional Investor Regulation To Restoring A Fair And Sustainable American Economy, Leo E. Strine Jr. Oct 2020

Stewardship 2021: The Centrality Of Institutional Investor Regulation To Restoring A Fair And Sustainable American Economy, Leo E. Strine Jr.

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

In this essay, which formed the basis for the luncheon keynote speech at the Rethinking Stewardship online conference presented by the Ira M. Millstein Center for Global Markets and Corporate Ownership at Columbia Law School and ECGI, the European Corporate Governance Institute, the essential, but not sufficient, role of regulation to promote more effective stewardship by institutional investors is discussed. To frame specific policy recommendations that align the responsibilities of institutional investors with the best interests of their human investors in sustainable wealth creation, environmental responsibility, the respectful treatment of stakeholders, and, in particular, the fair pay and treatment of ...


The “Value” Of A Public Benefit Corporation, Jill E. Fisch, Steven Davidoff Solomon Oct 2020

The “Value” Of A Public Benefit Corporation, Jill E. Fisch, Steven Davidoff Solomon

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

We examine the “value” a PBC form provides for publicly-traded corporations. We analyze the structure of the PBC form and find that other than requiring a designated social purpose it does not differ significantly in siting control and direction with shareholders. We also examine the purpose statements in the charters of the most economically significant PBCs. We find that, independent of structural limitations on accountability, these purpose statements are, in most cases, too vague and aspirational to be legally significant, or even to serve as a reliable checks on PBC behavior. We theorize, and provide evidence, that without a legal ...


Uncertainty > Risk: Lessons For Legal Thought From The Insurance Runoff Market, Tom Baker Sep 2020

Uncertainty > Risk: Lessons For Legal Thought From The Insurance Runoff Market, Tom Baker

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Insurance ideas inform legal thought: from tort law, to health law and financial services regulation, to theories of distributive justice. Within that thought, insurance is conceived as an ideal type in which insurers distribute determinable risks through contracts that fix the parties’ obligations in advance. This ideal type has normative appeal, among other reasons because it explains how tort law might achieve in practice the objectives of tort theory. This ideal type also supports a restrictive vision of liability-based regulation that opposes expansions and supports cutbacks, on the grounds that uncertainty poses an existential threat to insurance markets.

Prior work ...


Did The America Invents Act Change University Technology Transfer?, Cynthia L. Dahl Aug 2020

Did The America Invents Act Change University Technology Transfer?, Cynthia L. Dahl

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

University technology transfer offices (TTOs) are the gatekeepers to groundbreaking innovations sparked in research laboratories around the U.S. With a business model reliant on patenting and licensing out for commercialization, TTOs were positioned for upheaval when the America Invents Act (AIA) transformed U.S. patent law in 2011. Now almost ten years later, this article examines the AIA’s actual effects on this patent-centric industry. It focuses on the five key areas of most interest to TTOs: i) first to file priority; ii) broadening of the universe of prior art; iii) carve-out to the prior commercial use defense; iv ...


Fiduciary Law And The Preservation Of Trust In Business Relationships, Brian J. Broughman, Elizabeth Pollman, D. Gordon Smith Aug 2020

Fiduciary Law And The Preservation Of Trust In Business Relationships, Brian J. Broughman, Elizabeth Pollman, D. Gordon Smith

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

This chapter explores the role of mandatory fiduciary obligations in preserving trust between business parties. Because contracts are inevitably incomplete, after investment there is always a risk of opportunism. While the parties could try to draft a more detailed agreement prohibiting various forms of opportunism, the very act of haggling over such protections may signal distrust, eliciting costly reactions (defensive measures/hedging/lack of intrinsic motivation) in the counterparty. In the absence of fiduciary protections, a vulnerable party may decide to forgo important protections against opportunism, not because such protections are suboptimal or hard to specify ex ante but because ...


Should Corporations Have A Purpose?, Jill E. Fisch, Steven Davidoff Solomon Aug 2020

Should Corporations Have A Purpose?, Jill E. Fisch, Steven Davidoff Solomon

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

The hot topic in corporate governance is the debate over corporate purpose and, in particular, whether corporations should shift their purpose from the pursuit of shareholder wealth to pursuing a broader conception of stakeholder or societal value. We argue that this debate has overlooked the critical predicate questions of whether a corporation should have a purpose at all and, if so, why,

We address these questions by examining the historical, legal and theoretical justifications for corporate purpose. We find that none of the three provides a basis for requiring a corporation to articulate a particular purpose or for a given ...


Appraisal Waivers, Jill E. Fisch Aug 2020

Appraisal Waivers, Jill E. Fisch

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

A judicial determination of fair value in a private company can be a difficult and imprecise process. This difficulty coupled with variations in way mergers are negotiated and structured and the potential for conflicts of interest lend uncertainty to appraisal proceedings. As a result, corporate participants have powerful reasons to seek to limit the uncertainty associated with an appraisal proceeding ex ante. The response has been the growing use of shareholder agreements that limit appraisal rights.

Appraisal waivers also offer a potentially attractive solution to a somewhat different concern, the growth of appraisal litigation in publicly traded companies. As with ...


Private Ordering And The Role Of Shareholder Agreements, Jill E. Fisch Aug 2020

Private Ordering And The Role Of Shareholder Agreements, Jill E. Fisch

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Corporate law has embraced private ordering -- tailoring a firm’s corporate governance to meet its individual needs. Firms, particularly venture-capital backed start-ups, are increasingly adopting firm-specific governance provisions such as dual-class voting structures, arrangements to create stable shared control rights among a coalition of minority shareholders, and provisions that limit the permissible fora for shareholder litigation. Courts have broadly upheld these provisions as consistent with the contractual theory of the firm. Commentators too, while finding some governance provisions objectionable, nonetheless support a private ordering approach as facilitating innovation and enhancing efficiency.

Although most analyses of private ordering focus on provisions ...


Caremark And Esg, Perfect Together: A Practical Approach To Implementing An Integrated, Efficient, And Effective Caremark And Eesg Strategy, Leo E. Strine Jr., Kirby M. Smith, Reilly S. Steel Jul 2020

Caremark And Esg, Perfect Together: A Practical Approach To Implementing An Integrated, Efficient, And Effective Caremark And Eesg Strategy, Leo E. Strine Jr., Kirby M. Smith, Reilly S. Steel

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

With increased calls from investors, legislators, and academics for corporations to consider employee, environmental, social, and governance factors (“EESG”) when making decisions, boards and managers are struggling to situate EESG within their existing reporting and organizational structures. Building on an emerging literature connecting EESG with corporate compliance, this Essay argues that EESG is best understood as an extension of the board’s duty to implement and monitor a compliance program under Caremark. If a company decides to do more than the legal minimum, it will simultaneously satisfy legitimate demands for strong EESG programs and promote compliance with the law. Building ...


Synthetic Governance, Byung Hyun Anh, Jill E. Fisch, Panos N. Patatoukas, Steven Davidoff Solomon Jul 2020

Synthetic Governance, Byung Hyun Anh, Jill E. Fisch, Panos N. Patatoukas, Steven Davidoff Solomon

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Scholars, practitioners and policymakers continue to debate what constitutes “good” corporate governance. Academic efforts to evaluate the effect of governance provisions such as dual class voting structures, staggered boards of directors and separating the positions of CEO and Chairman of the Board, have produced inconsistent or inconclusive results. The consequence is that the debate over corporate governance is increasingly political and discordant.

We offer a way to address this debate. The rise of index-based investing provides a market-based alternative to governance regulation. Through the creation of bespoke governance index funds, asset managers can offer investors the opportunity to choose an ...


Implicit Communication And Enforcement Of Corporate Disclosure Regulation, Ashiq Ali, Michael T. Durney, Jill E. Fisch, Hoyoun Kyung Jul 2020

Implicit Communication And Enforcement Of Corporate Disclosure Regulation, Ashiq Ali, Michael T. Durney, Jill E. Fisch, Hoyoun Kyung

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

This study examines the challenge of implicit communication -- qualitative statements, tone, and non-verbal cues -- to the effectiveness of enforcing corporate disclosure regulation. We use a Regulation Fair Disclosure (Reg FD) setting, given that the SEC adopted the regulation recognizing that managers can convey non-public information privately not just through explicit quantitative disclosures but also through implicit communication. In a high-profile enforcement action, however, the court focused on a literal examination of the manager’s language rather than his positive spin to conclude that the SEC had been “too demanding” in examining the manager’s statements and that its enforcement policy ...


The Challenge Of Regulatory Excellence, Cary Coglianese Jun 2020

The Challenge Of Regulatory Excellence, Cary Coglianese

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Regulation is a high-stakes enterprise marked by tremendous challenges and relentless public pressure. Regulators are expected to protect the public from harms associated with economic activity and technological change without unduly impeding economic growth or efficiency. Regulators today also face new demands, such as adapting to rapidly changing and complex financial instruments, the emergence of the sharing economy, and the potential hazards of synthetic biology and other innovations. Faced with these challenges, regulators need a lodestar for what constitutes high-quality regulation and guidance on how to improve their organizations’ performance. In the book Achieving Regulatory Excellence, leading regulatory experts across ...


When Standards Collide With Intellectual Property: Teaching About Standard Setting Organizations, Technology, And Microsoft V. Motorola, Cynthia L. Dahl Jun 2020

When Standards Collide With Intellectual Property: Teaching About Standard Setting Organizations, Technology, And Microsoft V. Motorola, Cynthia L. Dahl

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Technology lawyers, intellectual property (IP) lawyers, or even any corporate lawyer with technology clients must understand standard essential patents (SEPs) and how their licensing works to effectively counsel their clients. Whether the client’s technology is adopted into a voluntary standard or not may be the most important factor in determining whether the company succeeds or is left behind in the market. Yet even though understanding SEPs is critical to a technology or IP practice, voluntary standards and specifically SEPs are generally not taught in law school.

This article aims to address this deficiency and create more practice-ready law school ...


Deploying Machine Learning For A Sustainable Future, Cary Coglianese May 2020

Deploying Machine Learning For A Sustainable Future, Cary Coglianese

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

To meet the environmental challenges of a warming planet and an increasingly complex, high tech economy, government must become smarter about how it makes policies and deploys its limited resources. It specifically needs to build a robust capacity to analyze large volumes of environmental and economic data by using machine-learning algorithms to improve regulatory oversight, monitoring, and decision-making. Three challenges can be expected to drive the need for algorithmic environmental governance: more problems, less funding, and growing public demands. This paper explains why algorithmic governance will prove pivotal in meeting these challenges, but it also presents four likely obstacles that ...


Commercial Law Intersections, Giuliano Castellano, Andrea Tosato Apr 2020

Commercial Law Intersections, Giuliano Castellano, Andrea Tosato

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Commercial law is not a single, monolithic entity. It has grown into a dense thicket of subject-specific branches that govern a broad range of transactions and corporate actions. When one of these events falls concurrently within the purview of two or more of these commercial law branches - such as corporate law, intellectual property law, secured transactions law, conduct and prudential regulation - an overlap materializes. We refer to this legal phenomenon as a commercial law intersection (CLI). Some notable examples of transactions that feature CLIs include bank loans secured by shares, supply chain financing arrangements, patent cross-licensing, and blockchain-based initial coin ...


An Essay On Pluralism In Financial Market Infrastructure Design: The Case Of Securities Holding In The United States, Charles W. Mooney Jr. Apr 2020

An Essay On Pluralism In Financial Market Infrastructure Design: The Case Of Securities Holding In The United States, Charles W. Mooney Jr.

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

This essay will appear as a chapter in a forthcoming edited volume published by Oxford University Press. It builds on the earlier article, Beyond Intermediation: A New (FinTech) Model for Securities Holding Infrastructures, 22 U. Pa. J. Bus. L. 386 (2020), which argues that serious consideration should be given to modifications of the deeply intermediated securities holding systems in the United States and elsewhere. Many of the costs and risks imposed by the intermediated holding systems fall within the domain of the regulation of securities markets (internal costs), such as impairments of shareholder voting and bondholder claims against issuers. Others ...


The Paradox Of Insurance, Gideon Parchomovsky, Peter Siegelman Mar 2020

The Paradox Of Insurance, Gideon Parchomovsky, Peter Siegelman

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

In this Article, we uncover a paradoxical phenomenon that has hitherto largely escaped the attention of legal scholars and economists, yet it has far-reaching implications for insurance law: loss-creation by uninsured parties caused by the presence of insurance. Contrary to the conventional wisdom, we show that insurance can create significant negative externalities by inducing third parties to engage in antisocial, illegal and unethical activities in order to extract money from insureds or insurers. Moreover, as the amount and scope of insurance grows, so does its distortionary effect on third parties. We term this phenomenon the paradox of insurance. The risk ...


Private Company Lies, Elizabeth Pollman Mar 2020

Private Company Lies, Elizabeth Pollman

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Rule 10b-5’s antifraud catch-all is one of the most consequential pieces of American administrative law and most highly developed areas of judicially-created federal law. Although the rule broadly prohibits securities fraud in both public and private company stock, the vast majority of jurisprudence, and the voluminous academic literature that accompanies it, has developed through a public company lens.

This Article illuminates how the explosive growth of private markets has left huge portions of U.S. capital markets with relatively light securities fraud scrutiny and enforcement. Some of the largest private companies by valuation grow in an environment of extreme ...


The Cost Of Doing Business: Corporate Crime And Punishment Post-Crisis, Dorothy S. Lund, Natasha Sarin Feb 2020

The Cost Of Doing Business: Corporate Crime And Punishment Post-Crisis, Dorothy S. Lund, Natasha Sarin

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

For many years, law and economics scholars, as well as politicians and regulators, have debated whether corporate criminal enforcement overdeters beneficial corporate activity or in the alternative, lets corporate criminals off too easily. This debate has recently expanded in its polarization: On the one hand, academics, judges, and politicians have excoriated the DOJ for failing to send guilty bankers to jail in the wake of the financial crisis; on the other, the DOJ has since relaxed policies aimed to secure individual lability and reduced the size of fines and number of prosecutions.

A crucial and yet understudied piece of evidence ...


Private Equity Value Creation In Finance: Evidence From Life Insurance, Divya Kirti, Natasha Sarin Feb 2020

Private Equity Value Creation In Finance: Evidence From Life Insurance, Divya Kirti, Natasha Sarin

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

This paper studies how private equity buyouts create value in the insurance industry, where decentralized regulation creates opportunities for aggressive tax and capital management. Using novel data on 57 large private equity deals in the insurance industry, we show that buyouts create value by decreasing insurers' tax liabilities; and by reaching-for-yield: PE firms tilt their subsidiaries' bond portfolios toward junk bonds while avoiding corresponding capital charges. Previous work on affiliated or "shadow" reinsurance and capital management misses the important role that private equity buyouts play as recent drivers of these phenomenon. The trend we document is of growing importance in ...


Reversing The Fortunes Of Active Funds, Adi Libson, Gideon Parchomovsky Jan 2020

Reversing The Fortunes Of Active Funds, Adi Libson, Gideon Parchomovsky

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Recent years have witnessed a considerable growth of passive fund at the expense of active funds. This trend picked in 2019, a year that saw passive funds surpass active funds in terms of assets under management. The continuous decline of active funds is a cause for concern. Active funds engage in monitoring of firms and partake of decision-making in companies in their portfolio. The cost of these activities are born exclusively by active funds; the benefits, by contrast, are spread over all shareholders, including passive funds that freeride on the efforts of active funds. The contraction of active funds threatens ...


Justice Department's New Position On Patents, Standard Setting, And Injunctions, Herbert J. Hovenkamp Jan 2020

Justice Department's New Position On Patents, Standard Setting, And Injunctions, Herbert J. Hovenkamp

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

A deep split in American innovation policy has arisen between new economy and old economy innovation. In a recent policy statement, the Antitrust Division of the Justice Department takes a position that tilts more toward the old economy. Its December, 2019, policy statement on remedies for Standard Essential Patents issued jointly with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and the National Institute of Standards and Technology reflects this movement.

The policy statement as a whole contains two noteworthy problems: one is a glaring omission, and the other is a mischaracterization of the scope of antitrust liability. Both positions are ...


Defined Contribution Plans And The Challenge Of Financial Illiteracy, Jill E. Fisch, Annamaria Lusardi, Andrea Hasler Jan 2020

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 ...