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Dynamic Disclosure: An Exposé On The Mythical Divide Between Voluntary And Mandatory Esg Disclosure, Lisa Fairfax Nov 2022

Dynamic Disclosure: An Exposé On The Mythical Divide Between Voluntary And Mandatory Esg Disclosure, Lisa Fairfax

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In March 2022, for the first time in its history, the Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”) proposed rules mandating disclosure related to climate change. The proposed rules are remarkable because heretofore many in the business community, including the SEC, vehemently resisted climate-related disclosure, based primarily on the argument that such disclosure is not material to investors. This resistance is exemplified by the current lack of any SEC disclosure mandates for climate change. The proposed rules have sparked considerable pushback including allegations that the rules violate the First Amendment, would be too costly, and focus on “social” or “political” issues …


Gamestop And The Reemergence Of The Retail Investor, Jill E. Fisch Oct 2022

Gamestop And The Reemergence Of The Retail Investor, Jill E. Fisch

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The GameStop trading frenzy in January 2021 was perhaps the highest profile example of the reemergence of capital market participation by retail investors, a marked shift from the growing domination of those markets by large institutional investors. Some commentators have greeted retail investing, which has been fueled by app-based brokerage accounts and social media, with alarm and called for regulatory reform. The goals of such reforms are twofold. First, critics argue that retail investors need greater protection from the risks of investing in the stock market. Second, they argue that the stock market, in term, needs protection from retail investors. …


President Biden's Executive Order On Competition: An Antitrust Analysis, Herbert J. Hovenkamp Jul 2022

President Biden's Executive Order On Competition: An Antitrust Analysis, Herbert J. Hovenkamp

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In July, 2021, President Biden signed a far ranging Executive Order directed to promoting competition in the American economy. This paper analyzes issues covered by the Order that are most likely to affect the scope and enforcement of antitrust law. The only passage that the Executive Order quoted from a Supreme Court antitrust decision captures its antitrust ideology well – that the Sherman Act:

rests on the premise that the unrestrained interaction of competitive forces will yield the best allocation of our economic resources, the lowest prices, the highest quality and the greatest material progress, while at the same time …


A Lesson From Startups: Contracting Out Of Shareholder Appraisal, Jill E. Fisch Jun 2022

A Lesson From Startups: Contracting Out Of Shareholder Appraisal, Jill E. Fisch

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Appraisal is a controversial topic. Policymakers have debated the goals served by the appraisal remedy, and legislatures have repeatedly revised appraisal statutes in an effort to meet those goals while minimizing the cost and potential abuse associated with appraisal litigation. Courts have struggled to determine the most appropriate valuation methodology and the extent to which that methodology should depend on case-specific factors. These difficulties are exacerbated by variation in the procedures by which mergers are negotiated and the potential for conflict-of-interest transactions.

Private ordering offers a market-based alternative to continued legislative or judicial efforts to refine the appraisal remedy. Through …


Secured Transactions Law Reform In Japan: Japan Business Credit Project Assessment Of Interviews And Tentative Policy Proposals, Megumi Hara, Kumiko Koens, Charles W. Mooney Jr. Jan 2022

Secured Transactions Law Reform In Japan: Japan Business Credit Project Assessment Of Interviews And Tentative Policy Proposals, Megumi Hara, Kumiko Koens, Charles W. Mooney Jr.

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This article summarizes key findings from the Japan Business Credit Project (JBCP), which involved more than 30 semi-structured interviews conducted in Japan from 2016 through 2018. It was inspired by important and previously unexplored questions concerning secured financing of movables (business equipment and inventory) and claims (receivables)—“asset-based lending” or “ABL.” Why is the use of ABL in Japan so limited? What are the principal obstacles and disincentives to the use of ABL in Japan? The interviews were primarily with staff of banks, but also included those of government officials and regulators, academics, and law practitioners. The article proposes reforms of …


Antitrust By Algorithm, Cary Coglianese, Alicia Lai Jan 2022

Antitrust By Algorithm, Cary Coglianese, Alicia Lai

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Technological innovation is changing private markets around the world. New advances in digital technology have created new opportunities for subtle and evasive forms of anticompetitive behavior by private firms. But some of these same technological advances could also help antitrust regulators improve their performance in detecting and responding to unlawful private conduct. We foresee that the growing digital complexity of the marketplace will necessitate that antitrust authorities increasingly rely on machine-learning algorithms to oversee market behavior. In making this transition, authorities will need to meet several key institutional challenges—building organizational capacity, avoiding legal pitfalls, and establishing public trust—to ensure successful …


Do Esg Funds Deliver On Their Promises?, Quinn Curtis, Jill E. Fisch, Adriana Z. Robertson Dec 2021

Do Esg Funds Deliver On Their Promises?, Quinn Curtis, Jill E. Fisch, Adriana Z. Robertson

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Corporations have received growing criticism for their role in climate change, perpetuating racial and gender inequality, and other pressing social issues. In response to these concerns, shareholders are increasingly focusing on environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG) criteria in selecting investments, and asset managers are responding by offering a growing number of ESG mutual funds. The flow of assets into ESG is one of the most dramatic trends in asset management.

But are these funds giving investors what they promise? This question has attracted the attention of regulators, with the Department of Labor and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) …


Addressing The Divisions In Antitrust Policy, Herbert J. Hovenkamp Nov 2021

Addressing The Divisions In Antitrust Policy, Herbert J. Hovenkamp

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This is the text of an interview conducted in writing by Professor A. Douglas Melamed, Stanford Law School.


The Supreme Court And The Pro-Business Paradox, Elizabeth Pollman Nov 2021

The Supreme Court And The Pro-Business Paradox, Elizabeth Pollman

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One of the most notable trends of the Roberts Court is expanding corporate rights and narrowing liability or access to justice against corporate defendants. This Comment examines recent Supreme Court cases to highlight this “pro-business” pattern as well as its contradictory relationship with counter trends in corporate law and governance. From Citizens United to Americans for Prosperity, the Roberts Court’s jurisprudence could ironically lead to a situation in which it has protected corporate political spending based on a view of the corporation as an “association of citizens,” but allows constitutional scrutiny to block actual participants from getting information about …


Mutual Fund Stewardship And The Empty Voting Problem, Jill E. Fisch Oct 2021

Mutual Fund Stewardship And The Empty Voting Problem, Jill E. Fisch

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When Roberta Karmel wrote the articles that are the subject of this symposium, she was skeptical of both the potential value of shareholder voting and the emerging involvement of institutional investors in corporate governance. In the ensuing years, both the increased role and engagement of institutional investors and the heightened importance of shareholder voting offer new reasons to take Professor Karmel’s concerns seriously. Institutional investors have taken on a broader range of issues ranging from diversity and political spending to climate change and human capital management, and their ability to influence corporate policy on these issues has become more significant. …


Vertical Control, Herbert J. Hovenkamp Sep 2021

Vertical Control, Herbert J. Hovenkamp

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Antitrust litigation often requires courts to consider challenges to vertical “control.” How does a firm injure competition by limiting the behavior of vertically related firms? Competitive injury includes harm to consumers, labor, or other suppliers from reduced output and higher margins.

Historically antitrust considers this issue by attempting to identify a market that is vertically related to the defendant, and then consider what portion of it is “foreclosed” by the vertical practice. There are better mechanisms for identifying competitive harm, including a more individualized look at how the practice injures the best placed firms or bears directly on a firm’s …


Appreciating The Overlooked Contributions Of The New Harvard School, Christopher S. Yoo Jul 2021

Appreciating The Overlooked Contributions Of The New Harvard School, Christopher S. Yoo

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My colleague, Herbert Hovenkamp, is almost universally recognized as the most cited and the most authoritative US antitrust scholar. Among his many honors, his status as the senior author of the authoritative Areeda and Hovenkamp treatise makes him the unquestioned leader of the New Harvard School, which has long served as the bellwether for how courts are likely to resolve emerging issues in modern antitrust doctrine. Unfortunately, its defining tenets and its positions on emerging issues remain surprisingly obscure. My contribution to this festschrift explores the core commitments that distinguish the New Harvard School from other approaches to antitrust. It …


Antitrust Harm And Causation, Herbert J. Hovenkamp Jul 2021

Antitrust Harm And Causation, Herbert J. Hovenkamp

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How should plaintiffs show harm from antitrust violations? The inquiry naturally breaks into two issues: first, what is the nature of the harm? and second, what does proof of causation require? The best criterion for assessing harm is likely or reasonably anticipated output effects. Antitrust’s goal should be output as high as is consistent with sustainable competition.

The standard for proof of causation then depends on two things: the identity of the enforcer and the remedy that the plaintiff is seeking. It does not necessarily depend on which antitrust statute the plaintiff is seeking to enforce. For public agencies, enforcement …


The Deregulation Deception, Cary Coglianese, Natasha Sarin, Stuart Shapiro Jun 2021

The Deregulation Deception, Cary Coglianese, Natasha Sarin, Stuart Shapiro

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President Donald Trump and members of his Administration repeatedly asserted that they had delivered substantial deregulation that fueled positive trends in the U.S. economy prior to the COVID pandemic. Drawing on an original analysis of data on federal regulation from across the Trump Administration’s four years, we show that the Trump Administration actually accomplished much less by way of deregulation than it repeatedly claimed—and much less than many commentators and scholars have believed. In addition, and also contrary to the Administration’s claims, overall economic trends in the pre-pandemic Trump years tended simply to follow economic trends that began years earlier. …


Lifting Labor’S Voice: A Principled Path Toward Greater Worker Voice And Power Within American Corporate Governance, Leo E. Strine Jr., Aneil Kovvali, Oluwatomi O. Williams Feb 2021

Lifting Labor’S Voice: A Principled Path Toward Greater Worker Voice And Power Within American Corporate Governance, Leo E. Strine Jr., Aneil Kovvali, Oluwatomi O. Williams

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In view of the decline in gain sharing by corporations with American workers over the last forty years, advocates for American workers have expressed growing interest in allowing workers to elect representatives to corporate boards. Board level representation rights have gained appeal because they are a highly visible part of codetermination regimes that operate in several successful European economies, including Germany’s, in which workers have fared better.

But board-level representation is just one part of the comprehensive codetermination regulatory strategy as it is practiced abroad. Without a coherent supporting framework that includes representation from the ground up, as is provided …


The History And Revival Of The Corporate Purpose Clause, Elizabeth Pollman Jan 2021

The History And Revival Of The Corporate Purpose Clause, Elizabeth Pollman

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The corporate purpose debate is experiencing a renaissance. The contours of the modern debate are relatively well developed and typically focus on whether corporations should pursue shareholder value maximization or broader social aims. A related subject that has received much less scholarly attention, however, is the formal legal mechanism by which a corporation expresses its purpose—the purpose clause of the corporate charter. This Article examines corporate purpose through the evolution of corporate charters. Starting with historic examples ranging from the Dutch East India Company to early American corporations and their modern 21st century parallels, the discussion illuminates how corporate purpose …


Should Corporations Have A Purpose?, Jill E. Fisch, Steven Davidoff Solomon Jan 2021

Should Corporations Have A Purpose?, Jill E. Fisch, Steven Davidoff Solomon

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Corporate purpose is the hot topic in corporate governance. Critics are calling for corporations to shift their purpose away from shareholder value as a means of addressing climate change, equity and inclusion, and other social values. We argue that this debate has overlooked the critical predicate questions of whether a corporation should have a purpose at all and, if so, what role it serves.

We start by exploring and rejecting historical, doctrinal, and theoretical bases for corporate purpose. We challenge the premise that purpose can serve a useful function either as a legal constraint on managerial discretion or as a …


Synthetic Governance, Byung Hyun Anh, Jill E. Fisch, Panos N. Patatoukas, Steven Davidoff Solomon Jan 2021

Synthetic Governance, Byung Hyun Anh, Jill E. Fisch, Panos N. Patatoukas, Steven Davidoff Solomon

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Although securities regulation is distinct from corporate governance, the two fields have considerable substantive overlap. By increasing the transparency and efficiency of the capital markets, securities regulation can also enhance the capacity of those markets to discipline governance decisions. The importance of market discipline is heightened by the increasingly vocal debate over what constitutes “good” corporate governance.

Securities product innovation offers new tools to address this debate. The rise of index-based investing provides a market-based mechanism for selecting among governance options and evaluating their effects. Through the creation of bespoke governance index funds, asset managers can create indexes that correspond …


Propertizing Fair Use, Abraham Bell, Gideon Parchomovsky Jan 2021

Propertizing Fair Use, Abraham Bell, Gideon Parchomovsky

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In its current form, fair use doctrine provides a personal defense that applies narrowly to the specific use by the specific user. The landmark case of Google v. Oracle, currently pending before the Supreme Court, illustrates why this is problematic. Even if the Court were to rule that Google’s use of Oracle’s Java API’s was fair, the ruling would not protect the numerous parties that developed Java applications for the Android operating system; it would only shelter Google and Google’s particular use. This is not an isolated problem; the per use/per user rule cuts across fair uses of copyrighted …


Restoration: The Role Stakeholder Governance Must Play In Recreating A Fair And Sustainable American Economy A Reply To Professor Rock, Leo E. Strine Jr. Jan 2021

Restoration: The Role Stakeholder Governance Must Play In Recreating A Fair And Sustainable American Economy A Reply To Professor Rock, Leo E. Strine Jr.

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In his excellent article, For Whom is the Corporation Managed in 2020?: The Debate Over Corporate Purpose, Professor Edward Rock articulates his understanding of the debate over corporate purpose. This reply supports Professor Rock’s depiction of the current state of corporate law in the United States. It also accepts Professor Rock’s contention that finance and law and economics professors tend to equate the value of corporations to society solely with the value of their equity. But, I employ a less academic lens on the current debate about corporate purpose, and am more optimistic about proposals to change our corporate governance …


Reversing The Fortunes Of Active Funds, Adi Libson, Gideon Parchomovsky Jan 2021

Reversing The Fortunes Of Active Funds, Adi Libson, Gideon Parchomovsky

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In 2019, for the first time in the history of U.S. capital markets, passive funds surpassed active funds in terms of total assets under management. The continuous growth of passive funds at the expense of active funds is a genuine cause for concern. Active funds monitor the management and partake of decision-making in their portfolio companies. Furthermore, they improve price efficiency and managerial performance by engaging in informed trading. The buy/sell decisions of active funds provide other market participants reliable information about the quality of firms. The cost of active investing is significant and it is exclusively borne by active …


Is The Digital Economy Too Concentrated?, Jonathan Klick Nov 2020

Is The Digital Economy Too Concentrated?, Jonathan Klick

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Concentration in the digital economy in the United States has sparked loud criticism and spurred calls for wide-ranging reforms. These reforms include everything from increased enforcement of existing antitrust laws, such as challenging more mergers and breaking up firms, to an abandonment of the consumer welfare standard. Critics cite corruption and more systemic public choice problems, while others invoke the populist origins of antitrust to slay the digital Goliaths. On the other side, there is skepticism regarding these arguments. This chapter continues much of that skepticism.


Stewardship 2021: The Centrality Of Institutional Investor Regulation To Restoring A Fair And Sustainable American Economy, Leo E. Strine Jr. Oct 2020

Stewardship 2021: The Centrality Of Institutional Investor Regulation To Restoring A Fair And Sustainable American Economy, Leo E. Strine Jr.

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In this essay, which formed the basis for the luncheon keynote speech at the Rethinking Stewardship online conference presented by the Ira M. Millstein Center for Global Markets and Corporate Ownership at Columbia Law School and ECGI, the European Corporate Governance Institute, the essential, but not sufficient, role of regulation to promote more effective stewardship by institutional investors is discussed. To frame specific policy recommendations that align the responsibilities of institutional investors with the best interests of their human investors in sustainable wealth creation, environmental responsibility, the respectful treatment of stakeholders, and, in particular, the fair pay and treatment of …


Environmental Soft Law As A Governance Strategy, Cary Coglianese Oct 2020

Environmental Soft Law As A Governance Strategy, Cary Coglianese

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Soft law governance relies on nongovernmental institutions that establish and implement voluntary standards. Compared with traditional hard law solutions to societal and economic problems, soft law alternatives promise to be more politically feasible to establish and then easier to adapt in the face of changing circumstances. They may also seem more likely to be flexible in what they demand of targeted businesses and other entities. But can soft law actually work to solve major problems? This Article considers the value of soft law governance through the lens of three major voluntary, nongovernmental initiatives that address environmental concerns: (1) ISO 14001 …


Antitrust: What Counts As Consumer Welfare?, Herbert J. Hovenkamp Jul 2020

Antitrust: What Counts As Consumer Welfare?, Herbert J. Hovenkamp

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Antitrust’s consumer welfare principle is accepted in some form by the entire Supreme Court and the majority of other writers. However, it means different things to different people. For example, some members of the Supreme Court can simultaneously acknowledge the antitrust consumer welfare principle even as they approve practices that result in immediate, obvious, and substantial consumer harm. At the same time, however, a properly defined consumer welfare principle is essential if antitrust is to achieve its statutory purpose, which is to pursue practices that injure competition. The wish to make antitrust a more general social justice statute is understandable: …


Understanding The Revenue Potential Of Tax Compliance Investment, Natasha Sarin, Lawrence H. Summers Jul 2020

Understanding The Revenue Potential Of Tax Compliance Investment, Natasha Sarin, Lawrence H. Summers

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In a July 2020 report, the Congressional Budget Office estimated that modest investments in the IRS would generate somewhere between $60 and $100 billion in additional revenue over a decade. This is qualitatively correct. But quantitatively, the revenue potential is much more significant than the CBO report suggests. We highlight five reasons for the CBO’s underestimation: 1) the scale of the investment in the IRS contemplated is modest and far short of sufficient even to return the IRS budget to 2011 levels; 2) the CBO contemplates a limited range of interventions, excluding entirely progress on information reporting and technological advancements; …


Regulatory Abdication In Practice, Cary Coglianese Feb 2020

Regulatory Abdication In Practice, Cary Coglianese

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“Meta-regulation” refers to deliberate efforts to induce private firms to create their own internal regulations—a regulatory strategy sometimes referred to as “management-based regulation” or even “regulation of self-regulation.” Meta-regulation is often presented as a flexible alternative to traditional “command-and-control” regulation. But does meta-regulation actually work? In her recent book, Meta-Regulation in Practice: Beyond Normative Views of Morality and Rationality, Fiona Simon purports to offer a critique of meta-regulation based on an extended case study of the often-feckless process of electricity regulatory reform undertaken in Australia in the early part of this century. Yet neither Simon’s case study nor her book …


On The Meaning Of Antitrust's Consumer Welfare Principle, Herbert J. Hovenkamp Jan 2020

On The Meaning Of Antitrust's Consumer Welfare Principle, Herbert J. Hovenkamp

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This brief essay addresses the ambiguities in the meaning of “consumer welfare” in antitrust, exploring the differences between the Williamson, Bork, and current understanding of that term. After weighing the alternatives it argues that the consumer welfare principle in antitrust should seek out that state of affairs in which output is maximized, consistent with sustainable competition


Taxing Bitcoin And Blockchains—What The Irs Told Us (And What It Didn’T), David J. Shakow Jan 2020

Taxing Bitcoin And Blockchains—What The Irs Told Us (And What It Didn’T), David J. Shakow

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The IRS recently issued its second description of how it will treat Bitcoin and other blockchain assets. Some of its analysis leaves open questions that invite further consideration, and important issues remain unresolved. Moreover, because the popular Bitcoin blockchain uses a "proof of work" consensus procedure, issues relating to the alternative "proof of stake" procedure have been neglected.


Justice Department's New Position On Patents, Standard Setting, And Injunctions, Herbert J. Hovenkamp Jan 2020

Justice Department's New Position On Patents, Standard Setting, And Injunctions, Herbert J. Hovenkamp

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A deep split in American innovation policy has arisen between new economy and old economy innovation. In a recent policy statement, the Antitrust Division of the Justice Department takes a position that tilts more toward the old economy. Its December, 2019, policy statement on remedies for Standard Essential Patents issued jointly with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and the National Institute of Standards and Technology reflects this movement.

The policy statement as a whole contains two noteworthy problems: one is a glaring omission, and the other is a mischaracterization of the scope of antitrust liability. Both positions are strongly …