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

Columbia Law School

1999

International Law

Northwestern University Law Review

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Full-Text Articles in Law

The Future As History: The Prospects For Global Convergence In Corporate Governance And Its Implications, John C. Coffee Jr. Jan 1999

The Future As History: The Prospects For Global Convergence In Corporate Governance And Its Implications, John C. Coffee Jr.

Faculty Scholarship

What forces explain corporate structure and shareholder behavior? For decades this question has gone unasked, as both corporate law scholars and practitioners tacitly accepted the answer given in 1932 by Adolf Berle and Gardiner Means that the separation of ownership and control stemming from ownership fragmentation explained and assured shareholder passivity. Over this decade, however, corporate law scholars have recognized that this standard answer begs an essential prior question: if ownership fragmentation explains shareholder passivity, what explains ownership fragmentation? Although the Berle and Means model assumed that large-scale enterprises could raise sufficient capital to conduct their operations only by attracting ...