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Full-Text Articles in Law

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 ...


Will Tenure Voting Give Corporate Managers Lifetime Tenure?, Paul H. Edelman, Randall S. Thomas, Wei Jiang Jan 2019

Will Tenure Voting Give Corporate Managers Lifetime Tenure?, Paul H. Edelman, Randall S. Thomas, Wei Jiang

Vanderbilt Law School Faculty Publications

Dual-class voting systems have been widely employed in recent initial public offerings by large tech companies, but have been roundly condemned by institutional investors and the S&P 500. As an alternative, commentators have proposed adoption of tenure voting systems, where investor voting rights increase with the length of time that they hold shares. In furtherance of this proposal, some Silicon Valley investors have requested that the SEC permit the creation of a new stock exchange where all of the companies will be required to use tenure voting systems.

Is tenure voting a better choice than dual-class stock for both ...


Too-Big-To-Fail Shareholders, Yesha Yadav Jan 2018

Too-Big-To-Fail Shareholders, Yesha Yadav

Vanderbilt Law School Faculty Publications

To build resilience within the financial system, post-Crisis regulation relies heavily on banks to fund themselves more fully by issuing equity. This reserve of value should buttress failing banks by providing a mechanism to pay off creditors and depositors and preserve the health of financial markets. In the process, shareholders are wiped out. Scholars and policymakers, however, have neglected to examine which equity investors, in fact, are purchasing bank equity and taking on the default risk of U.S. banks. This Article addresses this question. First, it shows that five asset managers - BlackRock, Vanguard, State Street Global Advisors, Fidelity and ...


Shareholder Voting In An Age Of Intermediary Capitalism, Paul H. Edelman, Randall S. Thomas, Robert B. Thompson Jan 2014

Shareholder Voting In An Age Of Intermediary Capitalism, Paul H. Edelman, Randall S. Thomas, Robert B. Thompson

Vanderbilt Law School Faculty Publications

Shareholder voting is a key part of contemporary American corporate governance. As numerous contemporary battles between corporate management and shareholders illustrate, voting has never been more important. Yet, traditional theory about shareholder voting, rooted in concepts of residual ownership and a principal/agent relationship, does not reflect recent fundamental changes as to who shareholders are and their incentives to vote (or not vote). In the first section of the article, we address this deficiency directly by developing a new theory of corporate voting that offers three strong and complementary reasons for shareholder voting. In the middle section, we apply our ...


Dodd-Frank's Say On Pay: Will It Lead To A Greater Role For Shareholders In Corporate Governance?, Randall S. Thomas, Alan R. Palmiter, James F. Cotter Jan 2012

Dodd-Frank's Say On Pay: Will It Lead To A Greater Role For Shareholders In Corporate Governance?, Randall S. Thomas, Alan R. Palmiter, James F. Cotter

Vanderbilt Law School Faculty Publications

"Say on pay" gives shareholders an advisory vote on a company's pay practices for its top executives. Beginning in 2011, Dodd-Frank mandated such votes at public companies. The first year of "say on pay" under the new legislation may have changed the dialogue and give-and-take in the shareholder-management relationship at some companies, particularly on the question of executive pay.

We study the evolution of shareholder voting on "say on pay" - beginning in 2006 as a fledgling shareholder movement to get "say on pay" on the corporate ballot, evolving as a handful of companies and later the financial firms receiving ...


Economics, Politics, And The International Principles For Sound Compensation Practices: An Analysis Of Executive Pay At European Banks, Guido Ferrarini, Maria C. Ungureanu Mar 2011

Economics, Politics, And The International Principles For Sound Compensation Practices: An Analysis Of Executive Pay At European Banks, Guido Ferrarini, Maria C. Ungureanu

Vanderbilt Law Review

In this Article, we submit that the compensation structures at banks before the financial crisis were not necessarily flawed and that recent reforms in this area largely reflect already existing best practices. In Part I we review recent empirical studies on corporate governance and executive pay at banks and suggest that there is no strong support for regulating bankers' compensation structures. We also argue that detailed regulation of incentives would subtract essential decisionmaking powers from boards of directors and make compensation structures too rigid.

In Part II we note that political support for regulating bankers' pay has been strong and ...


Common Agency And The Public Corporation, Paul Rose Oct 2010

Common Agency And The Public Corporation, Paul Rose

Vanderbilt Law Review

Under the standard agency theory applied to corporate governance, active monitoring of manager-agents by empowered shareholder-principals will reduce agency costs created by management shirking and expropriation of private benefits. But while shareholder power may result in reduced managerial expropriation, an analysis of how that power is often exercised in public corporation governance reveals that it can also produce significant costs: influential shareholders may extract private benefits from the corporation, incur and impose lobbying expenses, and pressure corporations to adopt inapt corporate governance structures. These costs strain the simple principal-agent model on which shareholder empowerment is based. This Article offers an ...


Prediction Markets And Law: A Skeptical Account, Rebecca Haw Allensworth Jan 2009

Prediction Markets And Law: A Skeptical Account, Rebecca Haw Allensworth

Vanderbilt Law School Faculty Publications

Enthusiasm for "many minds" arguments has infected legal academia. Scholars now champion the virtues of groupthink, something once thought to have only vices. It turns out that groups often outperform individuals in aggregating information, weighing alternatives, and making decisions. And although some of our legal institutions, such as Congress and juries, already harness the power of the crowd, others could be improved by multiplying the number of minds at work. "Multiplying" implies a simple mathematical formula for improving decisionmaking; modern many minds arguments are more sophisticated than that. They use incentive analyses, game theory, and statistics to study how and ...


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

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

Vanderbilt Law Review

In recent years, the California Public Employees Pension System ("CalPERS") has received extensive attention for its active participation in corporate governance. CalPERS's activities established it as a leader among activist institutions. CalPERS's Murray and Kathleen Bring Professor of Law, New York University School of Law. T.J. Maloney Professor of Business Law, Fordham Law School. Thanks to Jeff Gordon, Keith Johnson, Un Kyung Park, Wayne Schneider, Damon Silvers, Randall Thomas, and John Wilcox for their valuable help in project design and for their useful comments.

Strategy was based on identifying underperforming companies with poor governance practices and then ...


The Evolving Role Of Institutional Investors In Corporate Governance And Corporate Litigation, Randall S. Thomas Mar 2008

The Evolving Role Of Institutional Investors In Corporate Governance And Corporate Litigation, Randall S. Thomas

Vanderbilt Law Review

This Symposium volume of the Vanderbilt Law Review, sponsored by the Institute for Law and Economic Policy ("ILEP"), focuses on the critical role of institutional investors in the modern American corporation. The agency cost model of the corporation tells us that in a dispersed ownership system, such as the U.S. system, large, motivated shareholders can play an important role in reducing the agency costs of equity by closely monitoring the actions of corporate management.1 Activist investors can use their voting powers, their power to file suit, and their power to sell their interests in the firm, to align ...


Specific Investment: Explaining Anomalies In "Corporate Law", Margaret M. Blair, Lynn A. Stout Jan 2006

Specific Investment: Explaining Anomalies In "Corporate Law", Margaret M. Blair, Lynn A. Stout

Vanderbilt Law School Faculty Publications

This Article has two goals: to praise Professor Robert Clark as a remarkable corporate scholar, and to explore how his work has helped to advance our understanding of corporations and corporate law. Clark wrote his classic treatise at a time when corporate scholarship was dominated by a principal-agent paradigm that viewed shareholders as the principals or sole residual claimants in public corporations and treated directors as shareholders' agents. This view naturally led contemporary scholars to believe that the chief economic problem of interest in corporate law was the "agency cost" problem of getting corporate directors to do what shareholders wanted ...


The New Look Of Shareholder Litigation: Acquisition-Oriented Class Actions, Robert B. Thompson, Randall S. Thomas Jan 2004

The New Look Of Shareholder Litigation: Acquisition-Oriented Class Actions, Robert B. Thompson, Randall S. Thomas

Vanderbilt Law Review

Now, however, a new form of shareholder litigation has emerged that is distinct from derivative or securities fraud claims: class action lawsuits filed under state law challenging director conduct in mergers and acquisitions. The empirical data reported in this article show that these acquisition-oriented suits are now the dominant form of corporate litigation and outnumber derivative suits by a wide margin.

Are these acquisition-oriented class actions just another deadbeat in the corporate governance debate? Should policymakers take action to cut back on the development of this new form of shareholder litigation? In this paper, we argue that, just as with ...


Reforming Corporate Governance: What History Can Teach Us, Margaret M. Blair Jan 2004

Reforming Corporate Governance: What History Can Teach Us, Margaret M. Blair

Vanderbilt Law School Faculty Publications

In this Article, I turn to the history of corporate law for insight into the role that the corporate form plays in the organization of business enterprises. I then draw implications from this history for thinking about circumstances and situations in which corporate directors should have unimpeded control over business decisions, versus situations in which shareholders should have more input and control over business decisions. In Part I, I review historical evidence of the rapid growth in demand for the corporate form to organize businesses in the United States during the early nineteenth century. I compare the law that governed ...


Securities Fraud As Corporate Governance: Reflections Upon Federalism, Robert B. Thompson, Hillary A. Sale Apr 2003

Securities Fraud As Corporate Governance: Reflections Upon Federalism, Robert B. Thompson, Hillary A. Sale

Vanderbilt Law Review

State law gives corporate managers extremely broad power to direct increasingly large pools of collective business assets. Not surprisingly, economic incentives, norms, markets, and law all work to constrain the breadth of the power and the potential for abuse of what is other people's money.' State corporate law has occupied the center stage in the legal portion of this landscape, with federal securities law playing a supporting role-at least in the academic presentation of the debate. The New Deal's securities legislation eschewed a general federal corporations statute in favor of a more focused federal role emphasizing disclosure and ...


Director's Duties In A Post-Enron World: Why Language Matters, Margaret M. Blair Jan 2003

Director's Duties In A Post-Enron World: Why Language Matters, Margaret M. Blair

Vanderbilt Law School Faculty Publications

This essay observes that, in the face of corporate scandals of the last few years, a number of prominent advocates for shareholder primacy have retreated to the position that directors and officers should attempt to maximize long run share value performance, rather than short term value. But the mantra of share value maximization has no distinctive meaning and policy implications if it is not interpreted to mean maximization of short term value. This is because the actions required to maximize share value in the long run are indistinguishable in practice from actions taken in pursuit of other more broadly-stated goals ...


Corporate Ownership Structure And The Evolution Of Bankruptcy Law: Lessons From The United Kingdom, John Armour, Brian R. Cheffins, David A. Skeel, Jr. Nov 2002

Corporate Ownership Structure And The Evolution Of Bankruptcy Law: Lessons From The United Kingdom, John Armour, Brian R. Cheffins, David A. Skeel, Jr.

Vanderbilt Law Review

The corporate world today subdivides into rival systems of dispersed and concentrated ownership, each characterized by different corporate governance structures. The United States falls into the former category, whereas major industrial rivals such as Japan and Germany are members of the latter. The past decade has seen intense academic debate over possible explanations for the different systems of ownership and control in key developed economies. Anecdotal evidence suggesting that market forces may be serving to destabilize traditional business structures and foster some form of convergence in a U.S. direction has given the controversy powerful current relevance.

For those seeking ...


Introduction To The Symposium "Convergence On Delaware: Corporate Bankruptcy And Corporate Governance", Robert K. Rasmussen, Charles M. Elson Nov 2002

Introduction To The Symposium "Convergence On Delaware: Corporate Bankruptcy And Corporate Governance", Robert K. Rasmussen, Charles M. Elson

Vanderbilt Law Review

Bankruptcy is back. The use of Chapter 11 by large, publicly held firms was a subject of much debate in the academic and popular press in the late 1980s and the early 1990s. Firms such as Texaco, Revco, LTV, Federated Department Stores, Maxwell Communications, TWA, and Eastern Airlines all filed for bankruptcy during that time. The economic boom of the mid- and late 1990s, however, resulted in a relative dearth of high-profile bankruptcy cases. The recent economic downturn has moved corporate reorganizations back into the spotlight. The Chapter 11 filings by firms such as Enron, Global Crossing, the Loewen Group ...


Corporate Governance Reform And Reemergence From Bankruptcy: Putting The Structure Back In Restructuring, Charles M. Elson, Paul M. Helms, James R. Moncus Nov 2002

Corporate Governance Reform And Reemergence From Bankruptcy: Putting The Structure Back In Restructuring, Charles M. Elson, Paul M. Helms, James R. Moncus

Vanderbilt Law Review

A company's descent into bankruptcy may result from one or more troubling factors. Often the failing enterprise has adopted a poor business model, been led by deficient management, or labored under an unworkable capital structure. More often than not, a business failure is also accompanied by a less-than-ideal corporate governance structure within the organization. The failure to adopt an effective corporate governance model often leads to a sterile, inactive board of directors and may hasten a firm's demise. Conversely, proper corporate governance may prevent a business's slide into Chapter 11. Indeed, several studies have demonstrated a strong ...


Why A Board? Group Decisionmaking In Corporate Governance, Stephen M. Bainbridge Jan 2002

Why A Board? Group Decisionmaking In Corporate Governance, Stephen M. Bainbridge

Vanderbilt Law Review

This Article begins by briefly describing the role of the board both in law and in practice. Part II explores the distinction be- tween consensus and authority as modes of institutional decision- making. As hierarchical institutions, corporations rely far more heavily on authority than on consensus. Yet, at the apex of the hierarchy is a collegial body that functions mainly by consensus.

Part III is the core of the Article. In order to evaluate corporate law's preference for collective decisionmaking, we need to know whether group decisionmaking is superior to that of individuals. A wealth of experimental data suggests ...


Team Production In Business Organizations: An Introduction, Margaret M. Blair, Lynn A. Stout Jan 1999

Team Production In Business Organizations: An Introduction, Margaret M. Blair, Lynn A. Stout

Vanderbilt Law School Faculty Publications

For the past two decades, legal and economic scholarship has tended to assume that the central economic problem addressed by corporation law is getting managers and directors to act as faithful agents for shareholders. There are other important economic problems faced by business firms, however. This article introduces a Symposium that explores one of those alternate economic problems: the problem of "team production". Team production problems can arise whenever three conditions are met: (1) economic production requires the combined inputs of two or more individuals; (2) at least some of these inputs are "team-specific," meaning they have a significantly higher ...


A Critical Look At Corporate Governance, Lawrence E. Mitchell Oct 1992

A Critical Look At Corporate Governance, Lawrence E. Mitchell

Vanderbilt Law Review

The internal law of corporations is built upon the problem of competition-not competition with the world outside the corporate entity, which, according to liberal economic theory, is essential to the increase of wealth and well-being in society, but competition among the various groups of individuals that animate the corporation. The problem is (to extend the implicit metaphor) as if a human being's internal organs were constantly battling to capture all of the body's energy, rather than working together to contribute to the well-being of the whole. Like the human body, the corporation's "energy" (its assets) is, at ...


The Corporate Governance Debate And The Ali Proposals: Reform Or Restatement?, Kathryn N. Fine Apr 1987

The Corporate Governance Debate And The Ali Proposals: Reform Or Restatement?, Kathryn N. Fine

Vanderbilt Law Review

Much of the debate concerning corporate governance centers on the American Law Institute's proposed Principles of Corporate Governance [hereinafter ALI Proposals or ALI Principles].' The "restate" the law of corporate governance without departing from the primary goal stated in the ALI's charter: "to promote the clarification and simplification of the law and its better adaptation to social needs."' The ALI Proposals, however, have evolved into a"new art form"' and, unlike a restatement, have proposed reforms in addition to codifying the common law. Because of the predominance of statutory corporation law, the ALI Proposals have focused selectively on ...


Recent Developments Concerning The Duty Of Care, The Duty Of Loyalty, And The Business Judgment Rule, Patricia A. Daniel Apr 1987

Recent Developments Concerning The Duty Of Care, The Duty Of Loyalty, And The Business Judgment Rule, Patricia A. Daniel

Vanderbilt Law Review

The judiciary faces a difficult task in attempting to define the proper standards of conduct for corporate directors and officers. Although courts have enunciated various standards, the prevailing theme has been that corporate directors and officers are fiduciaries who have a "distinct legal relationship" with the corporation and its shareholders. As fiduciaries, directors and officers must con-form to the duty of care and the duty of loyalty. The business judgment rule, which creates a presumption of propriety for directors' and officers' substantive business decisions, developed concurrently with these duties. Several recent court decisions concerning corporate director and officer liability appear ...