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Full-Text Articles in Law

The Effects Of Shareholder Primacy, Publicness, And “Privateness” On Corporate Cultures, Donald C. Langevoort Aug 2019

The Effects Of Shareholder Primacy, Publicness, And “Privateness” On Corporate Cultures, Donald C. Langevoort

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

There is widespread belief in both scholarship and business practice that internal corporate cultures materially affect economic outcomes for firms. In turn, there is also a growing belief that corporate governance arrangements materially affect corporate cultures. If this is true, it suggests an intriguing three-link causal chain: governance choices influence corporate performance, at least in part via their effects on internal culture. This essay, written for the “Berle XI” symposium, explores that possibility. This subject is important to lawyers and legal scholars because of the symbiotic nature of law and governance, with an increasing risk of enhanced corporate criminal and ...


Beyond Beholden, Da Lin Jan 2019

Beyond Beholden, Da Lin

Law Faculty Publications

Corporate law has long been concerned with director independence. In controlled companies, the conventional wisdom focuses on "beholdenness" as the main threat to independence. The prevailing theory argues that directors might feel pressured to reciprocate a past kindness from the controlling shareholder or fear retaliation. This Article argues that this conventional narrative is troublingly incomplete. I show that directors are also influenced by the prospect of rewards, or patronage, from the controller.

This Article is the first to identify controlling shareholder patronage as a systemic phenomenon and to explore how anticipation of future patronage can affect director behavior. It presents ...


Activist Directors And Agency Costs: What Happens When An Activist Director Goes On The Board?, John C. Coffee Jr., Robert J. Jackson Jr., Joshua Mitts, Robert Bishop Jan 2018

Activist Directors And Agency Costs: What Happens When An Activist Director Goes On The Board?, John C. Coffee Jr., Robert J. Jackson Jr., Joshua Mitts, Robert Bishop

Faculty Scholarship

We develop and apply a new and more rigorous methodology by which to measure and understand both insider trading and the agency costs of hedge fund activism. We use quantitative data to show a systematic relationship between the appointment of a hedge fund nominated director to a corporate board and an increase in informed trading in that corporation’s stock (with the relationship being most pronounced when the fund’s slate of directors includes a hedge fund employee). This finding is important from two different perspectives. First, from a governance perspective, activist hedge funds represent a new and potent force ...


Corporate Governance: Overview, Case Studies, And Reforms, William O. Fisher Jan 2017

Corporate Governance: Overview, Case Studies, And Reforms, William O. Fisher

Law Faculty Publications

Corporate Governance: Overview, Case Studies, and Reforms provides a broad view, with chapters identifying principal governance participants and sources of existing law. The book also provides a focused view, with extensive excerpts from investigations of WorldCom, Enron, and Lehman―as well as documents from WorldCom and Enron. It includes Sarbanes-Oxley reforms, including those targeted on auditors. It covers the credit crisis―its causes, government control at companies receiving financial assistance, and new law and regulatory action emerging from that crisis, including regulation of compensation in the financial industry. The book quotes significant passages from laws, regulations, and listing standards―all ...


The Agency Costs Of Activism: Information Leakage, Thwarted Majorities, And The Public Morality, John C. Coffee Jr. Jan 2017

The Agency Costs Of Activism: Information Leakage, Thwarted Majorities, And The Public Morality, John C. Coffee Jr.

Faculty Scholarship

Few doubt that hedge fund activism has radically changed corporate governance in the United States – for better or for worse. Proponents see activists as desirable agents of change who intentionally invest in underperforming companies to organize more passive shareholders to support their proposals to change the target’s business model and/or management. So viewed, the process is fundamentally democratic, with institutional shareholders determining whether or not to support the activist’s proposals.

Skeptics respond that things do not work this simply. Actual proxy contests are few, and most activist engagements are resolved through private settlement negotiations between the activists ...


Contracting Out Of The Fiduciary Duty Of Loyalty: An Empirical Analysis Of Corporate Opportunity Waivers, Gabriel V. Rauterberg, Eric L. Talley Jan 2016

Contracting Out Of The Fiduciary Duty Of Loyalty: An Empirical Analysis Of Corporate Opportunity Waivers, Gabriel V. Rauterberg, Eric L. Talley

Faculty Scholarship

For centuries, the duty of loyalty has been the hallowed centerpiece of fiduciary obligation, widely considered one of the few “mandatory” rules of corporate law. That view, however, is no longer true. Beginning in 2000, Delaware dramatically departed from tradition by granting incorporated entities a statutory right to waive a crucial part of the duty of loyalty: the corporate opportunities doctrine. Other states have since followed Delaware’s lead, similarly permitting firms to execute “corporate opportunity waivers.” Surprisingly, more than fifteen years into this reform experiment, no empirical study has attempted to measure either the corporate response to these reforms ...


A Machine Learning Classifier For Corporate Opportunity Waivers, Gabriel V. Rauterberg, Eric L. Talley Jan 2016

A Machine Learning Classifier For Corporate Opportunity Waivers, Gabriel V. Rauterberg, Eric L. Talley

Faculty Scholarship

Rauterberg & Talley (2017) develop a data set of “corporate opportunity waivers” (COWs) – significant contractual modifications of fiduciary duties – sampled from SEC filings. Part of their analysis utilizes a machine learning (ML) classifier to extend their data set beyond the hand-coded sample. Because the ML approach is likely unfamiliar to some readers, and in the light of its great potential across other areas of law and finance research, this note explains the basic components using a simple example, and it demonstrates strategies for calibrating and evaluating the classifier.


From Corporate Law To Corporate Governance, Ronald J. Gilson Jan 2016

From Corporate Law To Corporate Governance, Ronald J. Gilson

Faculty Scholarship

This essay is a contribution to the forthcoming Oxford University Press Handbook of Corporate Law and Governance edited by Jeffery Gordon and Georg Ringe. In the 1960s and 1970s, corporate law and finance scholars recognized that neither discipline was doing a very good job of explaining how corporations were really structured and performed. For legal scholars, Yale Law School professor and then Stanford Law School dean Bayless Manning confessed that corporate law has “nothing left but our great empty corporation statutes – towering skyscrapers of rusted girders, internally welded together and containing nothing but wind.” Michael Jensen and William Meckling made ...


The Duty Of Corporate Directors To Tie Executive Compensation To The Long-Term Sustainability Of The Firm, Alberto Salazar, Muthana Mohamed Jan 2016

The Duty Of Corporate Directors To Tie Executive Compensation To The Long-Term Sustainability Of The Firm, Alberto Salazar, Muthana Mohamed

Osgoode Legal Studies Research Paper Series

Executive compensation is said to be for performance and, in liberal market economies, the board of directors along with compensation committees have largely been in charge of safeguarding pay for performance. This executive compensation system is legally protected by the business judgment rule (a strong judicial deference) and has recently been supplemented with shareholders’ ‘say on pay’. Further legal or government intervention has been deemed unnecessary. However, such system has resulted in extremely excessive executive compensation, outrageous pay disparities between executives and workers, poor or short-term performance, recurrent corporate failures and economic recession. This paper explores the need for a ...


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 ...


A Conflict Primacy Model Of The Public Board, Usha Rodrigues Jul 2013

A Conflict Primacy Model Of The Public Board, Usha Rodrigues

Scholarly Works

e board of directors is the theoretical fulcrum of the corporate form: Statutes task the board with managing the corporation. Yet in the twentieth century, CEOs and other executives came to dominate the real-world control of the corporation. In light of this transformation, in the 1970s Melvin E. Eisenberg proposed reconceiving the board as an independent monitor. Eisenberg’s monitoring board is now the dominant regulatory model of the board. Recently two different visions of the board of directors have emerged. Stephen Bainbridge’s “director primacy” model calls directors “Platonic guardians,” and Margaret Blair and Lynn Stout’s “team production ...


Making Corporate Governance Codes More Effective: A Response To The European Commission's Action Plan Of December 2012, Peter Böckli, Paul L. Davies, Eilis Ferran, Guido Ferrarini, José M. Garrido Garcia, Klaus J. Hopt, Alain Pietrancosta, Katharina Pistor, Markus Roth, Rolf Skog, Stanislaw Soltysinski, Jaap W. Winter, Eddy Wymeersch Jan 2013

Making Corporate Governance Codes More Effective: A Response To The European Commission's Action Plan Of December 2012, Peter Böckli, Paul L. Davies, Eilis Ferran, Guido Ferrarini, José M. Garrido Garcia, Klaus J. Hopt, Alain Pietrancosta, Katharina Pistor, Markus Roth, Rolf Skog, Stanislaw Soltysinski, Jaap W. Winter, Eddy Wymeersch

Faculty Scholarship

This paper contains the European Company Law Experts' response to one of the main issues raised in the European Commission’s Action Plan of 12 December 2012, namely how to make corporate governance codes more effective. The concept of “codes’ effectiveness” has two meanings: effectiveness of the comply-explain mechanism (disclosure effectiveness) and level of adoption of the codes’ recommendations themselves (substantive effectiveness). The ECLE believes that it is of crucial importance to keep the advantages of regulation by codes while finding adequate improvements of the quality of the reports and the explanations. The relationship between the content of corporate governance ...


Corporate Governance In An Age Of Separation Of Ownership From Ownership, Usha Rodrigues Jan 2011

Corporate Governance In An Age Of Separation Of Ownership From Ownership, Usha Rodrigues

Scholarly Works

The shareholder empowerment provisions enacted as part of the recent bailout legislation are internally incoherent because they fail to address the short-termist realities of shareholder ownership today. Ownership has separated from ownership in modern corporate America: individual investors now largely hold stock through mutual funds, pension funds, and hedge funds. The incentives of these short-term financial intermediaries only imperfectly reflect the interests of their long-term holders - an imbalance only exacerbated by the bailout’s corporate governance legislation. The bailout’s focus on shareholder empowerment tactics - such as proxy access, say-on-pay, and increased disclosure - makes little sense if shareholders are only ...


Employees And The Boundaries Of The Corporation, Matthew T. Bodie Jan 2011

Employees And The Boundaries Of The Corporation, Matthew T. Bodie

All Faculty Scholarship

Employees have no formal role in U.S. corporate law. According to most theories of the firm, however, employees play a critical role in differentiating firms from markets. This essay examines the disparity in treatment and seeks to understand the ramifications of the separation of employees from the corporation. After discussing the absence of employees from the corporate structure, the essay looks at the role of the employees in theories of the firm. In contrast to corporate law, these theories generally include employees within the core of the firm, and they often explain the nature and purpose of the firm ...


Promoting Employee Voice In The American Economy: A Call For Comprehensive Reform, Kenneth G. Dau-Schmidt Jan 2011

Promoting Employee Voice In The American Economy: A Call For Comprehensive Reform, Kenneth G. Dau-Schmidt

Articles by Maurer Faculty

It has become apparent that there are serious deficiencies in the American model of production. Our model of corporate governance has recently come under intense scrutiny in the academic literature and the popular press. There are increasing concerns that American corporations are too focused on short-run profits and stock prices, at the expense of long-term strategies and investments that would benefit the long-run value of the firm, employees, and the American economy at large. In the pursuit of short-run shareholder interests, American corporations have bestowed on senior executives enormous compensation packages that seem increasingly divorced from any notion of rationality ...


Shareholder Democracy And The Curious Turn Toward Board Primacy, Grant M. Hayden, Matthew T. Bodie Jan 2010

Shareholder Democracy And The Curious Turn Toward Board Primacy, Grant M. Hayden, Matthew T. Bodie

All Faculty Scholarship

Corporate law is consumed with a debate over shareholder democracy. The conventional wisdom counsels that shareholders should have more voice in corporate governance, in order to reduce agency costs and provide democratic legitimacy. A second set of theorists, described as “board primacists,” advocates against greater shareholder democracy and in favor of increased board discretion. These theorists argue that shareholders need to delegate their authority in order to provide the board with the proper authority to manage the enterprise and avoid short-term decision making.

In the last few years, the classical economic underpinnings of corporate law have been destabilized by a ...


The Case For Employee Referenda On Transformative Transactions As Shareholder Proposals, Matthew T. Bodie Jan 2010

The Case For Employee Referenda On Transformative Transactions As Shareholder Proposals, Matthew T. Bodie

All Faculty Scholarship

This Comment describes and advocates for employee referenda as implemented through a SEC Rule 14a-8 shareholder proposal. The proposal provides for a nonbinding referendum amongst all employees whenever the corporation's shareholders must vote to approve a merger, acquisition, sale of substantially all assets, or other transformative transaction. The purpose of the referendum is to provide employees with a voice in the transaction and to provide shareholders with a mechanism for tapping into employee sentiment. Because the referendum would be nonbinding, it is best viewed as an informational tool for shareholders and employees to use in policing management's transactions ...


For Optional Federal Incorporation, George W. Dent Jan 2010

For Optional Federal Incorporation, George W. Dent

Faculty Publications

The American economy suffers from the domination of corporations by chief executive officers who exercise control for their own benefit, at considerable cost to shareholders and to efficiency. The costs of this defect are rising as capital flees the United States for a growing number of countries that treat investors better. America’s corporate governance problem began and persists because corporations are franchised by the states, and it is in the economic interest of the states (especially Delaware) to cater to CEOS because they control the choice of state of incorporation. To break this destructive arrangement I propose optional federal ...


Shareholder Democracy And The Curious Turn Toward Board Primacy, Grant M. Hayden, Matthew T. Bodie Jan 2010

Shareholder Democracy And The Curious Turn Toward Board Primacy, Grant M. Hayden, Matthew T. Bodie

Faculty Scholarship

Corporate law is consumed with a debate over shareholder democracy. The conventional wisdom counsels that shareholders should have more voice in corporate governance, in order to reduce agency costs and provide democratic legitimacy. A second set of theorists, described as “board primacists,” advocates against greater shareholder democracy and in favor of increased board discretion. These theorists argue that shareholders need to delegate their authority in order to provide the board with the proper authority to manage the enterprise and avoid short-term decision making.

In the last few years, the classical economic underpinnings of corporate law have been destabilized by a ...


Regulatory Dualism As A Development Strategy: Corporate Reform In Brazil, The U.S., And The Eu, Ronald J. Gilson, Henry Hansmann, Mariana Pargendler Jan 2010

Regulatory Dualism As A Development Strategy: Corporate Reform In Brazil, The U.S., And The Eu, Ronald J. Gilson, Henry Hansmann, Mariana Pargendler

Faculty Scholarship

Countries pursuing economic development confront a fundamental obstacle. Reforms that increase the size of the overall pie are blocked by powerful interests that are threatened by the growth-inducing changes. This problem is conspicuous in efforts to create effective capital markets to support economic growth. Controlling owners and managers of established firms successfully oppose corporate governance reforms that would improve investor protection and promote capital market development. In this article, we examine the promise of regulatory dualism as a strategy to diffuse the tension between future growth and the current distribution of wealth and power. Regulatory dualism seeks to mitigate political ...


Individual Or Collective Liability For Corporate Directors?, Darian M. Ibrahim Mar 2008

Individual Or Collective Liability For Corporate Directors?, Darian M. Ibrahim

Faculty Publications

Fiduciary duty is one of the most litigated areas in corporate law and the subject of much academic attention, yet one important question has been ignored: Should fiduciary liability be assessed individually, where directors are examined one-by-one for compliance, or collectively, where the board's compliance as a whole is all that matters? The choice between individual and collective assessment may be the difference between a director's liability and her exoneration, may affect how boards function, and informs the broader fiduciary duty literature in important ways. This Article is the first to explore the individual/collective question and suggest ...


Corporate Therapeutics At The Securities And Exchange Commission, Jayne W. Barnard Jan 2008

Corporate Therapeutics At The Securities And Exchange Commission, Jayne W. Barnard

Faculty Publications

No abstract provided.


Stakeholder Governance: A Bad Idea Getting Worse, George W. Dent Jan 2008

Stakeholder Governance: A Bad Idea Getting Worse, George W. Dent

Faculty Publications

Calls for a stakeholder voice in corporate governance never end, as evidenced by the Symposium Corporations and Their Communities to which this paper is a contribution. The demise of labor unions and explosion of executive compensation while the income of most Americans has stagnated over the last several years has precipitated cries for remedial action, some of which include stakeholder governance. Although complaints about deepening inequality are just, other remedies should be pursued. The traditional objections to stakeholder governance remain valid: the interests of stakeholder groups clash not only with those of the shareholders but also with each other, and ...


On Beyond Calpers: Survey Evidence On The Developing Role Of Public Pension Funds In Corporate Governance, Stephen Choi, Jill E. Fisch Jan 2008

On Beyond Calpers: Survey Evidence On The Developing Role Of Public Pension Funds In Corporate Governance, Stephen Choi, Jill E. Fisch

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

No abstract provided.


At The Top Of The Pyramid: Lessons From The Alpha Women And The Elite Eight, Jayne W. Barnard Jan 2006

At The Top Of The Pyramid: Lessons From The Alpha Women And The Elite Eight, Jayne W. Barnard

Faculty Publications

No abstract provided.


Does Federalism Matter? Its Perplexing Role In The Corporate Governance Debate, Renee M. Jones Jan 2006

Does Federalism Matter? Its Perplexing Role In The Corporate Governance Debate, Renee M. Jones

Boston College Law School Faculty Papers

No abstract provided.


Unleashing A Gatekeeper: Why The Sec Should Mandate Disclosure Of Details Concerning Directors' And Officers' Liability Insurance Policies, Sean J. Griffith Mar 2005

Unleashing A Gatekeeper: Why The Sec Should Mandate Disclosure Of Details Concerning Directors' And Officers' Liability Insurance Policies, Sean J. Griffith

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

This Essay explores the connection between corporate governance and D&O insurance. It argues that D&O insurers act as gatekeepers and guarantors of corporate governance, screening and pricing corporate governance risks to maintain the profitability of their risk pools. As a result, D&O insurance premiums provide the insurer’s assessment of a firm’s governance quality. Most basically, firms with relatively worse corporate governance pay higher D&O premiums. This simple relationship could signal important information to investors and other capital market participants. Unfortunately, the signal is not being sent. Corporations lack the incentive to produce this disclosure ...


Rule 10b-5 And The "Unfitness" Question, Jayne W. Barnard Jan 2005

Rule 10b-5 And The "Unfitness" Question, Jayne W. Barnard

Faculty Publications

No abstract provided.


Historical Quirks, Political Opportunism, And The Anti-Loan Provision Of The Sarbanes-Oxley Act, Jayne W. Barnard Jan 2005

Historical Quirks, Political Opportunism, And The Anti-Loan Provision Of The Sarbanes-Oxley Act, Jayne W. Barnard

Faculty Publications

No abstract provided.


Corporate Governance: Still Broke, No Fix In Sight, George W. Dent Jan 2005

Corporate Governance: Still Broke, No Fix In Sight, George W. Dent

Faculty Publications

Dissatisfaction with the governance of public companies is as old as the public company itself, but public concern about corporate governance is spasmodic. Prior reforms did not cure the ills of corporate governance, and there is little reason to think that the recent spate of reforms will be any more effective. The fundamental problem of corporate governance remains what it has always been: the separation of ownership and control. No reform can succeed unless it overcomes this contradiction. Corporate executives determined to preserve their privileges and a number of scholars deny this claim; in effect, these Panglosses consider the status ...