Open Access. Powered by Scholars. Published by Universities.®

Law Commons

Open Access. Powered by Scholars. Published by Universities.®

Articles 1 - 30 of 360

Full-Text Articles in Law

Risk-Seeking Governance, Brian Broughman, Matthew T. Wansley Oct 2023

Risk-Seeking Governance, Brian Broughman, Matthew T. Wansley

Vanderbilt Law School Faculty Publications

Venture capitalists (“VCs”) are increasingly abandoning their traditional role as monitors of their portfolio companies. They are giving startup founders more equity and control and promising not to replace them with outside executives. At the same time, startups are taking unprecedented risks—defying regulators, scaling in unsustainable ways, and racking up billion-dollar losses. These trends raise doubts about the dominant model of VC behavior, which claims that VCs actively monitor startups to reduce the risk of moral hazard and adverse selection. We propose a new theory in which VCs use their role in corporate governance to persuade risk-averse founders to pursue …


Risk-Seeking Governance, Brian J. Broughman -- Professor Of Law, Matthew T. Wansley -- Assoc. Professor Of Law Oct 2023

Risk-Seeking Governance, Brian J. Broughman -- Professor Of Law, Matthew T. Wansley -- Assoc. Professor Of Law

Vanderbilt Law Review

Venture capitalists (“VCs”) are increasingly abandoning their traditional role as monitors of their portfolio companies. They are giving startup founders more equity and control and promising not to replace them with outside executives. At the same time, startups are taking unprecedented risks—defying regulators, scaling in unsustainable ways, and racking up billion-dollar losses. These trends raise doubts about the dominant model of VC behavior, which claims that VCs actively monitor startups to reduce the risk of moral hazard and adverse selection. We propose a new theory in which VCs use their role in corporate governance to persuade risk-averse founders to pursue …


So Far Yet So Close: Comparing Governing Laws In Arbitration Agreements Under English And Chinese Laws, King Fung Tsang Associate Professor, Weijie Lin L.L.B. May 2023

So Far Yet So Close: Comparing Governing Laws In Arbitration Agreements Under English And Chinese Laws, King Fung Tsang Associate Professor, Weijie Lin L.L.B.

Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law

The governing law of arbitration agreements determines the validity of an arbitration agreement and equally the entire arbitration. However, there is huge disagreement around the world as to the appropriate choice-of-law rules for deciding this governing law, particularly between rules favoring the governing law of the underlying contract (represented by the English approach) and the curial law (represented by the Chinese approach). By comparing the choice-of-law rules of these two jurisdictions, the authors argue that this disagreement is futile and unnecessary because both jurisdictions’ choice-of-law rules are pro-validity in substance and likely lead to the arbitration agreement being upheld. There …


Regulating Global Stablecoins: A Model-Law Strategy, Steven L. Schwarcz Nov 2022

Regulating Global Stablecoins: A Model-Law Strategy, Steven L. Schwarcz

Vanderbilt Law Review

Digital currencies have the potential to improve the speed and efficiency of the payment system. The principal challenge is retail: to facilitate day-to-day payments among consumers as an alternative to cash, both domestically and across national borders. Two models of digital currencies are becoming viable: central bank digital currencies and nongovernment-issued currencies that are backed by assets having intrinsic value (stablecoins or, when widely used internationally, global stablecoins). Because they are not government issued, global stablecoins present complex and novel cross-border regulatory challenges, including managing the costs of complying with a multitude of national laws and ensuring international legal enforceability. …


A Regulatory Scheme For The Dawn Of Space Tourism, Molly M. Mccue Oct 2022

A Regulatory Scheme For The Dawn Of Space Tourism, Molly M. Mccue

Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law

Today, companies like Blue Origin and Virgin Galactic have successfully launched paying customers into space, forging the future of the space tourism industry. While a growing space tourism industry promotes scientific advancement and opens an activity once reserved for trained astronauts to the public, the industry generates new issues and reveals the vulnerabilities of international space law. This Note explores the history of commercial spaceflight and the international agreements that comprise the current legal regime. It argues that space tourism presents a need for a new international agreement to address three vulnerabilities in the current international regime: environmental protections, protections …


Mergers, Antitrust, And The Interplay Of Entrepreneurial Activity And The Investments That Fund It, Gary Dushnitsky, D. Daniel Sokol May 2022

Mergers, Antitrust, And The Interplay Of Entrepreneurial Activity And The Investments That Fund It, Gary Dushnitsky, D. Daniel Sokol

Vanderbilt Journal of Entertainment & Technology Law

This Article addresses the potentially negative implications of proposed antitrust legislation on the entrepreneurial ecosystem in general, with a particular focus on the venture capitalists (VCs) that fund it. First, it offers a review of how antitrust merger law currently works and how proposed legislative changes to antitrust may threaten the innovative Venture Capital (VC)-backed ecosystem that has made the United States the center of global innovation across many different industries. Accompanying this review are some empirical observations. Second, recognizing that the understanding of innovative entrepreneurial activity calls for a deep appreciation of those who back it, the Article also …


Will Corporations Deliver Value To All Stakeholders?, Lucian A. Bebchuk, Roberto Tallarita May 2022

Will Corporations Deliver Value To All Stakeholders?, Lucian A. Bebchuk, Roberto Tallarita

Vanderbilt Law Review

Amid growing concerns for the effects that corporations have on stakeholders, supporters of stakeholder governance advocate relying on corporate leaders to use their discretion to protect stakeholders, and they seem to take corporate pledges to do so at face value. By contrast, critics question whether corporate leaders have incentives to protect stakeholders and to follow through on pledges to do so. We provide empirical evidence that can contribute to resolving the debate between these rival views.

The most celebrated pledge by corporate leaders to protect stakeholders was the Business Roundtable's 2019 Statement on the Purpose of a Corporation (the "BRT …


Dynamic Corporate Purpose: Decentralizing The Choice Over Director Orientation, Fields Pierce Jan 2022

Dynamic Corporate Purpose: Decentralizing The Choice Over Director Orientation, Fields Pierce

Vanderbilt Law Review

The debate over corporate purpose has turned into a “gordian knot” where parties with entrenched beliefs about what the corporation should or should not be within society refuse to waver. There are inherent flaws with the governance models proposed by academics, politicians, and practitioners alike, so a novel method for setting and maintaining corporate purpose is required. This Note asks why there must be a one-size-fits-all approach to purpose and proposes a solution: dynamic corporate purpose.

This Note argues that states should not mandate all corporations hold the same corporate purpose but instead should use the logic of the public …


Team Production Theory Across The Waves, Brian R. Cheffins, Richard Williams Jan 2021

Team Production Theory Across The Waves, Brian R. Cheffins, Richard Williams

Vanderbilt Law Review

Team production theory, which Margaret Blair developed in tandem with Lynn Stout, has had a major impact on corporate law scholarship. The team production model, however, has been applied sparingly outside the United States. This article, part of a symposium honoring Margaret Blair’s scholarship, serves as a partial corrective by drawing on team production theory to assess corporate arrangements in the United Kingdom. Even though Blair and Stout are dismissive of “shareholder primacy” and the U.K. is thought of as a “shareholder-friendly” jurisdiction, deploying team production theory sheds light on key corporate law topics such as directors’ duties and the …


Fiduciary Duties And Corporate Climate Responsibility, Cynthia A. Williams Jan 2021

Fiduciary Duties And Corporate Climate Responsibility, Cynthia A. Williams

Vanderbilt Law Review

Corporate-law scholarship for decades has been occupied with agency costs and how to mitigate them. But when I teach the basic business organizations class, starting with agency law and looking at the fiduciary duties of care, loyalty, and full disclosure of any agent to her principal, we explore both costs and benefits of agency relationships. I do so by introducing Ronald Coase’s theory of the firm. Using an example close to most second-year law students’ experience, that of buying a suit for interviews, I contrast Brooks Brothers establishing its own factories (the “make” decision) with Brooks Brothers using supply chains, …


Team Production Revisited, William W. Bratton Jan 2021

Team Production Revisited, William W. Bratton

Vanderbilt Law School Faculty Publications

This Article reconsiders Margaret Blair and Lynn Stout’s team production model of corporate law, offering a favorable evaluation. The model explains both the legal corporate entity and corporate governance institutions in microeconomic terms as the means to the end of encouraging investment, situating corporations within markets and subject to market constraints but simultaneously insisting that productive success requires that corporations remain independent of markets. The model also integrates the inherited framework of corporate law into an economically derived model of production, constructing a microeconomic description of large enterprises firmly rooted in corporate doctrine but neither focused on nor limited by …


Federal Corporate Law And The Business Of Banking, Morgan Ricks, Lev Menand Jan 2021

Federal Corporate Law And The Business Of Banking, Morgan Ricks, Lev Menand

Vanderbilt Law School Faculty Publications

The only profit-seeking business enterprises chartered by a federal government agency are banks. Yet there is barely any scholarship justifying this exception to state primacy in U.S. corporate law.

This Article addresses that gap. It reinterprets the National Bank Act (NBA) the organic statute governing national banks, the heavyweights of the financial sec- tor-as a corporation law and recovers the reasons why Congress wrote this law: not to catalyze private wealth creation or to regulate an existing industry, but to solve an economic governance problem. National banks are federal instrumentalities charged with augmenting the money supply-- a delegated sovereign privilege. …


Extending Democracy To Corporate Governance And Beyond, Edward Rubin Jan 2021

Extending Democracy To Corporate Governance And Beyond, Edward Rubin

Vanderbilt Law School Faculty Publications

This article proposes a different rationale for corporate democracy, one that extends more broadly to all forms of employment. It is based on an equivalence, not an analogy. The equivalence is that subordination feels essentially the same to an individual whether a public or a private entity is carrying it out. As recognized in the public arena, it undermines people’s dignity and autonomy, and at least threatens—and often produces—actual oppression. Based on this equivalence, this article proposes a different argument for corporate democracy. Proponents of democracy in the public sphere believe that the citizens of a nation should control its …


Team Production Revisited, William W. Bratton Jan 2021

Team Production Revisited, William W. Bratton

Vanderbilt Law Review

This Article reconsiders Margaret Blair and Lynn Stout’s team production model of corporate law, offering a favorable evaluation. The model explains both the legal corporate entity and corporate governance institutions in microeconomic terms as the means to the end of encouraging investment, situating corporations within markets and subject to market constraints but simultaneously insisting that productive success requires that corporations remain independent of markets. The model also integrates the inherited framework of corporate law into an economically derived model of production, constructing a microeconomic description of large enterprises firmly rooted in corporate doctrine but neither focused on nor limited by …


A Response To Calls For Sec Mandated Esg Disclosure, Amanda M. Rose Jan 2021

A Response To Calls For Sec Mandated Esg Disclosure, Amanda M. Rose

Vanderbilt Law School Faculty Publications

This Article responds to recent proposals calling for the SEC to adopt a mandatory ESG-disclosure framework. It illustrates how the breadth and vagueness of these proposals obscures the important--and controversial-- policy questions that would need to be addressed before the SEC could move forward on the proposals in a principled way. The questions raised include some of the most contested in the field of corporate and securities law, such as the value of interjurisdictional competition for corporate charters, the right way to conceptualize the purpose of the corporation, the proper allocation of managerial power as between the board and shareholders, …


Why The Corporation Locks In Financial Capital But The Partnership Does Not, Richard Squire Jan 2021

Why The Corporation Locks In Financial Capital But The Partnership Does Not, Richard Squire

Vanderbilt Law Review

Each partner in an at-will partnership can obtain a cash payout of his interest at any time. The corporation, by contrast, locks in shareholder capital, denying general payout rights to shareholders unless the charter states otherwise. What explains this difference? This Article argues that partner payout rights reduce the costs of two other characteristics of the partnership: the non-transferability of partner control rights, and the possibility for partnerships to be formed inadvertently. While these characteristics serve valuable functions, they can introduce a bilateral-monopoly problem and a special freezeout hazard unless each partner can force the firm to cash out his …


Worker Voice And Corporate Governance: Putting Words Into Actions, Thomas A. Kochan Jan 2021

Worker Voice And Corporate Governance: Putting Words Into Actions, Thomas A. Kochan

Vanderbilt Law Review

Two decades ago, Margaret Blair and I edited a book focused on governance of modern corporations. At the time it was evident that the dominant paradigm governing corporate governance and behavior centered on maximizing shareholder value. This was a shift in practice that began in the 1980s and was endorsed in 1997 by the Business Roundtable, when it recanted on its 1990 statement that supported a broader stakeholder view of corporate responsibilities.

The effects of the shift from a stakeholder to a shareholder-maximizing set of practices have been devastating for American workers and the overall economy. It reinforced and accelerated …


Corporate Personhood And Limited Sovereignty, Elizabeth Pollman Jan 2021

Corporate Personhood And Limited Sovereignty, Elizabeth Pollman

Vanderbilt Law Review

This Article, written for a symposium celebrating the work of Professor Margaret Blair, examines how corporate rights jurisprudence helped to shape the corporate form in the United States during the nineteenth century. It argues that as the corporate form became popular because of the way it facilitated capital lock-in, perpetual succession, and provided other favorable characteristics related to legal personality that separated the corporation from its participants, the Supreme Court provided crucial reinforcement of these entity features by recognizing corporations as rights-bearing legal persons separate from the government. Although the legal personality of corporations is a distinct concept from their …


What Was The "Dartmouth College" Case Really About?, Charles R.T. O'Kelley Jan 2021

What Was The "Dartmouth College" Case Really About?, Charles R.T. O'Kelley

Vanderbilt Law Review

This Article is the first modern work of corporation law scholarship fully examining the Dartmouth College case as it was lived and understood at the time. Earlier scholars, the author of this Article included, have relied on the case to make doctrinal and theory-of-the firm arguments about Supreme Court precedents regarding the constitutional rights of corporations. Moreover, these earlier works have primarily focused on, and found talismanic meaning, in two sentences in Marshall’s opinion:

"A corporation is an artificial being, invisible, intangible, and existing only in contemplation of law. Being the mere creature of law, it possesses only those properties …


Dodge V. Ford: What Happened And Why?, Mark J. Roe Jan 2021

Dodge V. Ford: What Happened And Why?, Mark J. Roe

Vanderbilt Law Review

Behind Henry Ford’s business decisions that led to the widely taught, famous-in-law-school Dodge v. Ford shareholder primacy decision were three industrial organization structures that put Ford in a difficult business position. First, Ford Motor had a highly profitable monopoly and needed much cash for the just-begun construction of the River Rouge factory, which was said to be the world’s largest when completed. Second, to stymie union organizers and to motivate his new assembly-line workers, Henry Ford raised worker pay greatly; Ford could not maintain his monopoly without sufficient worker buy-in. And, third, if Ford explicitly justified his acts as in …


A Revised Monitoring Model Confronts Today's Movement Toward Managerialism, Randall S. Thomas, James D. Cox Jan 2021

A Revised Monitoring Model Confronts Today's Movement Toward Managerialism, Randall S. Thomas, James D. Cox

Vanderbilt Law School Faculty Publications

There are many lessons to be drawn from the sweep of history. In law, the compelling story repeatedly told is the observable co-movement of law on the one hand, and economic, social, and political changes on the other hand. Aberrations, however, do arise but generally do not persist in the long term. Contemporary corporate law seems to be on the cusp of such an abnormality as legal developments and proposed reforms for corporate law are currently conflicting with the direction in which the host environment is moving. This article identifies a series of contemporary judicial and regulatory corporate governance developments …


Worker Voice And Corporate Governance: Putting Words Into Actions, Thomas A. Kochan Jan 2021

Worker Voice And Corporate Governance: Putting Words Into Actions, Thomas A. Kochan

Vanderbilt Law School Faculty Publications

Two decades ago, Margaret Blair and I edited a book focused on governance of modern corporations. At the time it was evident that the dominant paradigm governing corporate governance and behavior centered on maximizing shareholder value. This was a shift in practice that began in the 1980s and was endorsed in 1997 by the Business Roundtable, when it recanted on its 1990 statement that supported a broader stakeholder view of corporate responsibilities.

The effects of the shift from a stakeholder- to a shareholder-maximizing set of practices have been devastating for American workers and the overall economy. It reinforced and accelerated …


Corporate Law And Social Risk, Stavros Gadinis, Amelia Miazad Oct 2020

Corporate Law And Social Risk, Stavros Gadinis, Amelia Miazad

Vanderbilt Law Review

Over a quarter of total assets under management are now invested in socially responsible companies. This turn to sustainability has gained solid ground over the last few years, earning the commitment of hundreds of CEOs and dominating the global business agenda. This marks an astounding repudiation of Wall Street’s get-rich-quick mentality, as well as a direct challenge to corporate law’s reigning mantra of profit maximization above all. But corporate law scholars are skeptical about the rise of sustainability. Some scoff at companies’ promises to “do the right thing” as empty rhetoric. But companies are revisiting core business practices and adjusting …


Foreword--Comparative Corporate Law & Governance, Dan W. Puchniak, Randall S. Thomas May 2020

Foreword--Comparative Corporate Law & Governance, Dan W. Puchniak, Randall S. Thomas

Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law

Despite the challenges posed by Covid-19, especially for the student editors of the Journal, this special issue has been published on time and has been superbly edited. On behalf of the authors, NUS Law, and the Law & Business Program of Vanderbilt Law School, we would like to express our sincere appreciation to the editor in chief, Joshua D. Minchin, and the entire editorial team of the Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law for their remarkable skill, effort, and dedication in these challenging times. Your performance gives us great hope that the future is extremely bright.


The Misuse Of Tobin’S Q, Robert Bartlett, Frank Partnoy Mar 2020

The Misuse Of Tobin’S Q, Robert Bartlett, Frank Partnoy

Vanderbilt Law Review

In recent years, scholars have addressed the most important topics in corporate law based on a flawed assumption: that the ratio of the market value of a corporation’s securities to their book value is a valid measure of the value of the corporation. The topics have included staggered boards, incorporation in Delaware, shareholder activism, dual-class share structures, share ownership, board diversity, and other significant aspects of corporate governance. We trace the history of this flawed assumption, and document how it emerged from Tobin’s q, a concept from an unrelated area in macroeconomics. We show that scholars have misused Tobin’s q, …


Addressing The Auditor Independence Puzzle: Regulatory Models And Proposal For Reform, Martin Gelter, Aurelio Gurrea-Martinez Jan 2020

Addressing The Auditor Independence Puzzle: Regulatory Models And Proposal For Reform, Martin Gelter, Aurelio Gurrea-Martinez

Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law

Auditors play a major role in corporate governance and capital markets. Ex ante, auditors facilitate firms' access to finance by fostering trust among public investors. Ex post, auditors can prevent misbehavior and prevent financial fraud by corporate insiders. In order to fulfill these goals, however, in addition to having the adequate knowledge and expertise, auditors must perform their functions in an independent manner. Unfortunately, auditors are often subject to conflicts of interest, for example, resulting from the provision of nonaudit services but also because of the mere fact of being hired and paid by the audited company. Therefore, even if …


The Conundrum Of Common Ownership, Jennifer G. Hill Jan 2020

The Conundrum Of Common Ownership, Jennifer G. Hill

Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law

The common ownership debate has become one of the most contentious issues in corporate law today. This debate is a by-product of major changes to capital market ownership structure, which have triggered concerns about the rise of institutional investors, the growth of index investing, and the rapid concentration of ownership in major international financial markets. The common ownership theory focuses on concerns about the incentives of large financial institutions holding widely diversified portfolios of shares in competing companies within a particular economic sector. Proponents of the common ownership theory argue that, even where institutional investors have relatively small ownership stakes, …


Shareholder Protection In Close Corporations And The Curious Case Of Japan: The Enigmatic Past And Present Of Withdrawal In A Leading Economy, Alan K. Koh Jan 2020

Shareholder Protection In Close Corporations And The Curious Case Of Japan: The Enigmatic Past And Present Of Withdrawal In A Leading Economy, Alan K. Koh

Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law

Oppressed, outvoted, and outgunned, minority shareholders have an obvious solution for their woes: vote with their feet, sell their shares, and leave the company. But this "Wall Street Rule" is only available to shareholders in publicly listed corporations; shareholders in close corporations; privately owned business entities with no market for their shares--do not have the option of easy exit. Legal solutions which enable the shareholder to voluntarily exit a company with their capital such as the oppression or unfair prejudice remedies in US and Anglo-Commonwealth corporate law--what this Article classifies as "withdrawal remedies"--are therefore vital in close corporations.

However, until …


The Law And Practice Of Shareholder Inspection Rights: A Comparative Analysis Of China And The United States, Robin H. Huang, Randall S. Thomas Jan 2020

The Law And Practice Of Shareholder Inspection Rights: A Comparative Analysis Of China And The United States, Robin H. Huang, Randall S. Thomas

Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law

Shareholder inspection rights allow a shareholder to access the relevant documents of the company in which they hold an interest, so as to address the problem of information asymmetry and reduce the agency costs inherent in the corporate structure. While Chinese corporate governance and American corporate governance face different sets of agency cost problems, this Article shows that shareholder inspection rights play an important role in both China and the United States. On the books, while shareholder inspection rights in both countries are broadly similar, there are some important differences on issues such as the proper purpose requirement. The empirical …


Singapore's Puzzling Embrace Of Shareholder Stewardship: A Successful Secret, Dan W. Puchniak, Samantha S. Tang Jan 2020

Singapore's Puzzling Embrace Of Shareholder Stewardship: A Successful Secret, Dan W. Puchniak, Samantha S. Tang

Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law

In the wake of the 2008 Global Financial Crisis (GFC), the United Kingdom created the first stewardship code, which was designed to transform its rationally passive institutional investors into actively engaged shareholders. In the UK corporate governance context, this idea made sense. Institutional investors collectively own a sizable majority of the shares in most of the United Kingdom's listed companies. In turn, if the UK stewardship code could incentivize them to effectively monitor management to act as "good shareholder stewards"--the managerial short-termism and excessive risk-taking, which were identified as contributors to the GFC, could be avoided.

The United Kingdom's idea …