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Business Organizations Law

Vanderbilt Law School Faculty Publications

Corporations - Charitable contributions

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A Contractarian Defense Of Corporate Philanthropy, Margaret M. Blair Jan 1998

A Contractarian Defense Of Corporate Philanthropy, Margaret M. Blair

Vanderbilt Law School Faculty Publications

Statutory and case law make it clear that corporate officers and directors have very wide discretion to direct reasonable amounts of corporate resources toward artistic, educational, and humanitarian causes, even if those causes have only a remote connection (or no obvious connection at all) to the business goals and profitability of the firm. This stance of the law has been defended primarily by reference to an "entity" theory of the firm. By contrast, contractarian legal scholars, who view the corporation in terms of a principal-agent model, with shareholders as principles, and officers and directors as their agents, have argued that ...