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Full-Text Articles in Law

The Future Of Disclosure: Esg, Common Ownership, And Systematic Risk, John C. Coffee Jr. Jan 2021

The Future Of Disclosure: Esg, Common Ownership, And Systematic Risk, John C. Coffee Jr.

Faculty Scholarship

The U.S. securities markets have recently undergone (or are undergoing) three fundamental transitions: (1) institutionalization (with the result that institutional investors now dominate both trading and stock ownership); (2) extraordinary ownership concentration (with the consequence that the three largest U.S. institutional investors now hold 20% and vote 25% of the shares in S&P 500 companies); and (3) the introduction of ESG disclosures (which process has been driven in the U.S. by pressure from large institutional investors). In light of these transitions, how should disclosure policy change? Do institutions and retail investors have the same or different disclosure needs? Why ...


Contractual Evolution, Matthew Jennejohn, Julian Nyarko, Eric L. Talley Jan 2021

Contractual Evolution, Matthew Jennejohn, Julian Nyarko, Eric L. Talley

Faculty Scholarship

Conventional wisdom portrays contracts as static distillations of parties’ shared intent at some discrete point in time. In reality, however, contract terms evolve in response to their environments, including new laws, legal interpretations, and economic shocks. While several legal scholars have offered stylized accounts of this evolutionary process, we still lack a coherent, general theory that broadly captures the dynamics of real-world contracting practice. This paper advances such a theory, in which the evolution of contract terms is a byproduct of several key features, including efficiency concerns, information, and sequential learning by attorneys who negotiate several deals over time. Each ...


Covid-19 As A Force Majeure In Corporate Transactions, Matthew Jennejohn, Julian Nyarko, Eric L. Talley Jan 2020

Covid-19 As A Force Majeure In Corporate Transactions, Matthew Jennejohn, Julian Nyarko, Eric L. Talley

Faculty Scholarship

This paper surveys the use of pandemic-related provisions in Material Adverse Effects ("MAE") provisions in a large data set of publicly disclosed M&A transactions spanning the years 2003-2020. We document a trend towards greater use of such provisions, taking off particularly after the H1N1 crisis in 2009, and spiking again in late 2019 and early 2020. These terms are invariably located in the exclusions/carve-outs to the MAE, and they are overwhelmingly accompanied by "disproportionate effects" language that tends to dampen the effect of the carve out. There is little discernible statistical relationship between the inclusion of a pandemic-related carve-out and the inclusion of a reverse termination fee ("RTF") granting optionality to the buyer; but when an RTF is present, its magnitude tends to be smaller in the absence of any pandemic-specific carve-out, suggesting some degree of observational complementarity between these terms.


The Curse Of Bigness: New Deal Supplement, Tim Wu Jan 2020

The Curse Of Bigness: New Deal Supplement, Tim Wu

Faculty Scholarship

This is a supplement to the book, The Curse of Bigness: Antitrust in the New Gilded Age. It covers the years between 1920 - 1945, with a focus on the New Deal, and represents material left out of the original book.

It is meant to be read together with the larger volume, but can also be read separately.


Don't Go Chasing Waterfalls: Fiduciary Duties In Venture Capital Backed Startups, Sarath Sanga, Eric L. Talley Jan 2020

Don't Go Chasing Waterfalls: Fiduciary Duties In Venture Capital Backed Startups, Sarath Sanga, Eric L. Talley

Faculty Scholarship

Venture-capital-backed startups are often crucibles of conflict between common and preferred shareholders, particularly around exit decisions. Such conflicts are so common, in fact, that they have catalyzed an emergent judicial precedent – the Trados doctrine – that requires boards to prioritize common shareholders' interest and to treat preferred shareholders as contractual claimants. We evaluate the Trados doctrine using a model of startup governance that interacts capital structure, corporate governance, and liability rules. The nature and degree of inter-shareholder conflict turns not only on the relative rights and options of equity participants, but also on a firm's intrinsic value as well as ...


Bankruptcy’S Role In The Covid-19 Crisis, Edward R. Morrison, Andrea C. Saavedra Jan 2020

Bankruptcy’S Role In The Covid-19 Crisis, Edward R. Morrison, Andrea C. Saavedra

Faculty Scholarship

Policymakers have minimized the role of bankruptcy law in mitigating the financial fallout from COVID-19. Scholars too are unsure about the merits of bankruptcy, especially Chapter 11, in resolving business distress. We argue that Chapter 11 complements current stimulus policies for large corporations, such as the airlines, and that Treasury should consider making it a precondition for receiving government-backed financing. Chapter 11 offers a flexible, speedy, and crisis-tested tool for preserving businesses, financing them with government funds (if necessary), and ensuring that the costs of distress are borne primarily by investors, not taxpayers. Chapter 11 saves businesses and employment, not ...


Distributional Arguments, In Reverse, Alex Raskolnikov Jan 2020

Distributional Arguments, In Reverse, Alex Raskolnikov

Faculty Scholarship

What should the government do about the distribution of resources and outcomes in the society? Two arguments have shaped academic debates about this question for several decades. The first argument states that economic regulation should focus on efficiency alone, leaving distributional considerations for the tax-and-transfer system. The second argument objects to government assistance for people unintentionally harmed by legal reforms. Taken together, the two arguments impose major restrictions on the range of possible distributional policies.

This Article contends that a growing body of research in the economics of trade, immigration, industrial organization, labor, and environmental regulation reveals that the core ...


Restructuring Vs. Bankruptcy, Jason Roderick Donaldson, Edward R. Morrison, Giorgia Piacentino, Xiaobo Yu Jan 2020

Restructuring Vs. Bankruptcy, Jason Roderick Donaldson, Edward R. Morrison, Giorgia Piacentino, Xiaobo Yu

Faculty Scholarship

We develop a model of a firm in financial distress. Distress can be mitigated by filing for bankruptcy, which is costly, or preempted by restructuring, which is impeded by a collective action problem. We find that bankruptcy and restructuring are complements, not substitutes: Reducing bankruptcy costs facilitates restructuring, rather than crowding it out. And so does making bankruptcy more debtor-friendly, under a condition that seems likely to hold now in the United States. The model gives new perspectives on current relief policies (e.g., subsidized loans to firms in bankruptcy) and on long-standing legal debates (e.g., the efficiency of ...


How To Help Small Businesses Survive Covid-19, Todd Baker, Kathryn Judge Jan 2020

How To Help Small Businesses Survive Covid-19, Todd Baker, Kathryn Judge

Faculty Scholarship

Small businesses are among the hardest hit by the COVID-19 crisis. Many are shuttered, and far more face cash flow constraints, raising questions about just how many will survive this recession. The government has responded with a critical forgivable loan program, but for many of these businesses, this program alone will not provide the cash they need to retain workers, pay rent, and help their business come back to life when Americans are no longer sheltering in place. This essay calls on regulators to find new and creative ways to work with existing intermediaries, including banks and online lenders, who ...


The Covid-19 Pandemic And Business Law: A Series Of Posts From The Oxford Business Law Blog, Gert-Jan Boon, Markus K. Brunnermeier, Horst Eidenmueller, Luca Enriques, Aurelio Gurrea-Martínez, Kathryn Judge, Jean-Pierre Landau, Marco Pagano, Ricardo Reis, Kristin Van Zwieten Jan 2020

The Covid-19 Pandemic And Business Law: A Series Of Posts From The Oxford Business Law Blog, Gert-Jan Boon, Markus K. Brunnermeier, Horst Eidenmueller, Luca Enriques, Aurelio Gurrea-Martínez, Kathryn Judge, Jean-Pierre Landau, Marco Pagano, Ricardo Reis, Kristin Van Zwieten

Faculty Scholarship

The COVID-19 Pandemic is the biggest challenge for the world since World War Two, warned UN Secretary General, António Guterres, on 1 April 2020. Millions of lives may be lost. The threat to our livelihoods is extreme as well. Job losses worldwide may exceed 25 million.

Legal systems are under extreme stress too. Contracts are disrupted, judicial services suspended, and insolvency procedures tested. Quarantine regulations threaten constitutional liberties. However, laws can also be a powerful tool to contain the effects of the pandemic on our lives and reduce its economic fallout. To achieve this goal, rules designed for normal times ...


Innovation Versus Encrustation: Agency Costs In Contract Reproduction, Stephen J. Choi, Mitu Gulati, Robert E. Scott Jan 2020

Innovation Versus Encrustation: Agency Costs In Contract Reproduction, Stephen J. Choi, Mitu Gulati, Robert E. Scott

Faculty Scholarship

This article studies the impact of exogenous legal change on whether and how lawyers across four different deal types revise their contracts’ governing law clauses in order to solve the problem that the legal change created. The governing law clause is present in practically every contract across a wide range of industries and, in particular, it appears in deals as disparate as private equity M&A transactions and sovereign bond issuances. Properly drafted, the clause increases the ex ante economic value of the contract to both parties by reducing uncertainty and litigation risk. We posit that different levels of agency ...


Global Investor-Director Survey On Climate Risk Management, Kristin Bresnahan, Jens Frankenreiter, Sophie L'Helias, Brea Hinricks, Nina Hodzic, Julian Nyarko, Sneha Pandya, Eric L. Talley Jan 2020

Global Investor-Director Survey On Climate Risk Management, Kristin Bresnahan, Jens Frankenreiter, Sophie L'Helias, Brea Hinricks, Nina Hodzic, Julian Nyarko, Sneha Pandya, Eric L. Talley

Faculty Scholarship

Changes in the global climate are having profound impacts on business operations, governance, and organizational management around the world. Boards of directors are searching for ways to account for these changes as they help guide their organizations, and investors are increasingly concerned about how these changes might impact their portfolios. This global survey, conducted by a team of researchers at the Ira M. Millstein Center for Global Markets and Corporate Ownership at Columbia Law School and experts at LeaderXXchange, seeks to understand how – if at all – institutional investors and board directors incorporate climate-related issues in their investment decision making and ...


Being True To Trulia: Do Disclosure-Only Settlements In Merger Objection Lawsuits Harm Shareholders?, Eric L. Talley, Giuseppe Dari‐Mattiacci Jan 2019

Being True To Trulia: Do Disclosure-Only Settlements In Merger Objection Lawsuits Harm Shareholders?, Eric L. Talley, Giuseppe Dari‐Mattiacci

Faculty Scholarship

A significant debate within mergers and acquisitions law concerns the explosive popularity of the “merger objection lawsuit” (MOL), a shareholder action seeking to enjoin an announced deal on fiduciary duty grounds. MOLs blossomed during the Financial Crisis, becoming popularly associated with “shareholder shakedowns,” whereby quick-triggered plaintiff attorneys would file against – and then rapidly settle with – acquirers, typically on non-monetary terms containing modest added disclosures in exchange for blanket class releases and attorney fee awards. This practice unleashed a torrent of criticism from lawyers, commentators, academics, and (ultimately) judges, culminating in a doctrinal shift in Delaware law in the January 2016 ...


Corporate Governance For Sustainability, Andrew Johnston, Jeroen Veldman, Robert G. Eccles, Simon Deakin, Jerry Davis, Marie-Laure Djelic, Katharina Pistor, Blanche Segrestin, William M. Gentry, Cynthia A. Williams, David Millon, Paddy Ireland, Beate Sjåfjell, Christopher M. Bruner, Lorraine E. Talbot, Hugh Christopher Willmott, Charlotte Villiers, Carol Liao, Bertrand Valiorgue, Jason Glynos, Todd L. Sayre, Bronwen Morgan, Rick Wartzman, Prem Sikka, Filip Gregor, David Carroll Jacobs, Roger Gill, Roger Brown, Vincenzo Bavoso, Neil Lancastle, Julie Matthaei, Scott Taylor, Ulf Larsson-Olaison, Jay Cullen, Alan J. Dignam, Thomas Wuil Joo, Ciarán O'Kelly, Con Keating, Roman Tomasic, Simon Lilley, Kevin Tennent, Keith Robson, Willy Maley, Iris H-Y Chiu, Ewan Mcgaughey, Chris Rees, Nina Boeger, Adam Leaver, Marc T. Moore, Leen Paape, Alan D. Meyer, Marcello Palazzi, Nitasha Kaul, Juan Felipe Espinosa-Cristia, Timothy Kuhn, David J. Cooper, Susanne Soederberg, Andreas Jansson, Susan Watson, Ofer Sitbon, Joan Loughrey, David Collison, Maureen Mcculloch, Navajyoti Samanta, Daniel J.H. Greenwood, Grahame F. Thompson, Andrew R. Keay, Alessia Contu, Andreas Rühmkorf, Richard Hull, Irene-Marie Esser, Nihel Chabrak Jan 2019

Corporate Governance For Sustainability, Andrew Johnston, Jeroen Veldman, Robert G. Eccles, Simon Deakin, Jerry Davis, Marie-Laure Djelic, Katharina Pistor, Blanche Segrestin, William M. Gentry, Cynthia A. Williams, David Millon, Paddy Ireland, Beate Sjåfjell, Christopher M. Bruner, Lorraine E. Talbot, Hugh Christopher Willmott, Charlotte Villiers, Carol Liao, Bertrand Valiorgue, Jason Glynos, Todd L. Sayre, Bronwen Morgan, Rick Wartzman, Prem Sikka, Filip Gregor, David Carroll Jacobs, Roger Gill, Roger Brown, Vincenzo Bavoso, Neil Lancastle, Julie Matthaei, Scott Taylor, Ulf Larsson-Olaison, Jay Cullen, Alan J. Dignam, Thomas Wuil Joo, Ciarán O'Kelly, Con Keating, Roman Tomasic, Simon Lilley, Kevin Tennent, Keith Robson, Willy Maley, Iris H-Y Chiu, Ewan Mcgaughey, Chris Rees, Nina Boeger, Adam Leaver, Marc T. Moore, Leen Paape, Alan D. Meyer, Marcello Palazzi, Nitasha Kaul, Juan Felipe Espinosa-Cristia, Timothy Kuhn, David J. Cooper, Susanne Soederberg, Andreas Jansson, Susan Watson, Ofer Sitbon, Joan Loughrey, David Collison, Maureen Mcculloch, Navajyoti Samanta, Daniel J.H. Greenwood, Grahame F. Thompson, Andrew R. Keay, Alessia Contu, Andreas Rühmkorf, Richard Hull, Irene-Marie Esser, Nihel Chabrak

Faculty Scholarship

The current model of corporate governance needs reform. There is mounting evidence that the practices of shareholder primacy drive company directors and executives to adopt the same short time horizon as financial markets. Pressure to meet the demands of the financial markets drives stock buybacks, excessive dividends and a failure to invest in productive capabilities. The result is a ‘tragedy of the horizon’, with corporations and their shareholders failing to consider environmental, social or even their own, long-term, economic sustainability.

With less than a decade left to address the threat of climate change, and with consensus emerging that businesses need ...


Economic Individualism And Preference Formation, Andrzej Rapaczynski Jan 2018

Economic Individualism And Preference Formation, Andrzej Rapaczynski

Faculty Scholarship

This note examines some issues involved in an attempt to go beyond the assumption, long-made by most economists, that people’s preferences are simply to be treated as “given” and that the principle of consumer sovereignty entails a refusal to consider some (or some people’s) revealed preferences as more authoritative than others. The most important break with that assumption has been the development of behavioral economics, which shows that people may not always know what they really want, and that economists have to develop a more critical approach, distinguishing people’s true preferences from those that are merely apparent ...


Economic Democracy And Enterprise Form In Finance, William H. Simon Jan 2018

Economic Democracy And Enterprise Form In Finance, William H. Simon

Faculty Scholarship

This comment – a contribution to a project on “democratizing finance” – considers the relative advantages of alternative enterprise forms from the point of view of public accountability. It compares the business corporation to the state agency or authority, the cooperative, the state corporation, and the charitable nonprofit. These forms can be distinguished in terms of whether they aspire to enhance general electoral democracy or stakeholder democracy and in terms of whether their democratic controls operate directly or indirectly. I suggest that the more indirect democratic forms may be more promising than the more direct ones. I also argue that the project ...


The Known Unknowns Of The Business Tax Reforms Proposed In The House Republican Blueprint, Michael J. Graetz Jan 2017

The Known Unknowns Of The Business Tax Reforms Proposed In The House Republican Blueprint, Michael J. Graetz

Faculty Scholarship

This set of slides raises important issues and questions concerning the potential effects of a border-adjusted destination-based cash flow tax (DBCFT) as proposed in the 2016 House Blueprint “A Better Way.” These slides reflect the final version published by the Columbia Tax Journal on April 16, 2017 and now include a bibliography. This is the second update since they were first published on February 2.


The Macpherson-Henningsen Puzzle, Victor P. Goldberg Jan 2017

The Macpherson-Henningsen Puzzle, Victor P. Goldberg

Faculty Scholarship

In the landmark case of MacPherson v. Buick, an automobile company was held liable for negligence notwithstanding a lack of privity with the injured driver. Four decades later, in Henningsen v. Bloomfield Motors, the court held unconscionable the standard automobile company warranty which limited its responsibility to repair and replacement, even in a case involving physical injury. This suggests a puzzle: if it were so easy for firms to contract out of liability, did MacPherson accomplish anything?


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 ...


Appraisal Arbitrage And Shareholder Value, Scott Callahan, Darius Palia, Eric L. Talley Jan 2017

Appraisal Arbitrage And Shareholder Value, Scott Callahan, Darius Palia, Eric L. Talley

Faculty Scholarship

Post-merger appraisal rights have been the focus of heated controversy within mergers and acquisitions circles in recent years. Traditionally perceived as an arcane and cabalistic proceeding, the appraisal action has recently come to occupy center stage through the ascendancy of appraisal arbitrage-whereby investors purchase target-company shares shortly after an announcement principally to pursue appraisal. Such strategies became more feasible and profitable a decade ago, on the heels of two seemingly technocratic reforms in Delaware: (i) the statutory codification of prejudgment interest, pegging a presumptive rate at five percent above the federal discount rate; and (ii) the Transkaryotic opinion, which effectively ...


Can Restitution Save Fragile Spiderless Networks?, Ariel Porat, Robert E. Scott Jan 2017

Can Restitution Save Fragile Spiderless Networks?, Ariel Porat, Robert E. Scott

Faculty Scholarship

This Essay examines the dramatic increase in business networks in recent decades and considers whether the law can play a useful role in supporting the efficient functioning of these inter-firm relationships for coordination and cooperation. Repeat play, reputational sanctions, and norms of trust and reciprocity are the common explanations for the flourishing of networks in many industries and places. But the evidence also shows that a certain class of networks often fail to survive or function effectively and beneficial cooperation among these network members is impaired. These fragile networks develop organically without a controlling party or hierarchy at the center ...


Law And Corporate Governance, Robert P. Bartlett, Eric L. Talley Jan 2017

Law And Corporate Governance, Robert P. Bartlett, Eric L. Talley

Faculty Scholarship

Pragmatic and effective research on corporate governance often turns critically on appreciating the legal institutions surrounding corporate entities – yet such nuances are often unfamiliar or poorly specified to economists and other social scientists without legal training. This chapter organizes and discusses key legal concepts of corporate governance, including statutes, regulations, and jurisprudential doctrines that “govern governance” in private and public companies, with concentration on the for-profit corporation. We review the literature concerning the nature and purpose of the corporation, the objects of fiduciary obligations, the means for decision making within the firm, as well as the overlay of state and ...


Border Adjustments And The Conservation Of Tax Planning, David M. Schizer Jan 2017

Border Adjustments And The Conservation Of Tax Planning, David M. Schizer

Faculty Scholarship

This article is based on Schizer’s keynote address at the 17th annual NYU-KPMG Tax Symposium on March 10.

In this article, Schizer argues that U.S. corporate and shareholder taxes need to be reformed, and the corporate rate should be much lower. In reforming this dysfunctional regime, according to Schizer, Congress should keep both of these taxes as a form of built-in redundancy; if one tax is avoided, the other can still be collected. More generally, Congress should be wary of Utopian solutions. Tax reform is more likely to change tax planning than to eliminate it entirely, Schizer concludes ...


Patently Risky: Framing, Innovation And Entrepreneurial Preferences, Elizabeth Hoffman, David L. Schwartz, Matthew L. Spitzer, Eric L. Talley Jan 2017

Patently Risky: Framing, Innovation And Entrepreneurial Preferences, Elizabeth Hoffman, David L. Schwartz, Matthew L. Spitzer, Eric L. Talley

Faculty Scholarship

It is well known that innovation law and policy must strike a balance between incentivizing inventions on the one hand, and granting monopolies to successful innovators on the other. In achieving this balance, it is commonly presumed that actors in innovation markets respond to their economic environments just like anyone else (at least on a first approximation). This paper presents evidence to the contrary, using a series of controlled experiments. In our experiments, subjects were offered a choice between (a) a monetary payoff with certainty; and (b) a riskier (but potentially more lucrative) option. Our principal manipulation was to alter ...


Between Scylla And Charybdis: Taxing Corporations Or Shareholders (Or Both), David M. Schizer Jan 2016

Between Scylla And Charybdis: Taxing Corporations Or Shareholders (Or Both), David M. Schizer

Faculty Scholarship

The US taxes both corporations and shareholders on corporate profits. In principle, the U.S. could rely on only one of these taxes, as many commentators have suggested. Although choosing to tax the corporation or its owners may seem like taking money from one pocket or the other, this Essay emphasizes a key difference: corporate and shareholder taxes prompt different tax planning. Relying on one or the other mitigates some distortions and leaks, while exacerbating others. As a result, choosing which tax to impose is like navigating between Scylla and Charybdis.

In response to these dualing distortions, this Essay recommends ...


Follow The Money: Essays On International Taxation – Introduction, Michael J. Graetz Jan 2016

Follow The Money: Essays On International Taxation – Introduction, Michael J. Graetz

Faculty Scholarship

Publicity about tax avoidance techniques of multinational corporations and wealthy individuals has moved discussion of international income taxation from the backrooms of law and accounting firms to the front pages of news organizations around the world. In the words of a top Australian tax official, international tax law has now become a topic of barbeque conversations. Public anger has, in turn, brought previously arcane issues of international taxation onto the agenda of heads of government around the world.

Despite all the attention, however, issues of international income taxation are often not well understood. This Introduction outlines a collection of essays ...


The New Business Rule And Compensation For Lost Profits, Victor P. Goldberg Jan 2016

The New Business Rule And Compensation For Lost Profits, Victor P. Goldberg

Faculty Scholarship

For many years most American jurisdictions applied the “new business” rule, denying recovery of lost profits for new businesses. The majority position today rejects the per se rule, treating the issue as a rule of evidence — lost profits must be proved with “reasonable certainty.” This paper argues that the new business rule ought not be viewed as merely a matter of whether the evidence is sufficient to surmount the “reasonable certainty” hurdle. The confusion arises because courts have lumped together a number of different problems. By breaking these out, a more nuanced picture emerges. For one category, in particular, the ...


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 ...


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 ...


Preserving The Corporate Superego In A Time Of Activism: An Essay On Ethics And Economics, John C. Coffee Jr. Jan 2016

Preserving The Corporate Superego In A Time Of Activism: An Essay On Ethics And Economics, John C. Coffee Jr.

Faculty Scholarship

This essay focuses on the impact of recent changes in corporate governance on ethical behavior within the public corporation. It argues that a style of corporate behavior – one characterized by a risk tolerant, even reckless, pursuit of short-term profits and a disregard for the interests of non-shareholder constituencies – is attributable in significant part to recent changes in corporate governance, including the rise of hedge fund activism, greater use of incentive compensation, and the appearance of blockholder directors. It then surveys feasible responses intended to strengthen the role of the boards as the corporation’s conscience and superego. Given the difficulty ...