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Herbert Hovenkamp As Antitrust Oracle: Appreciating The Overlooked Contributions Of The New Harvard School, Christopher S. Yoo Jul 2021

Herbert Hovenkamp As Antitrust Oracle: Appreciating The Overlooked Contributions Of The New Harvard School, Christopher S. Yoo

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

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 ...


Toward Racial Equality: The Most Important Things The Business Community Can Do, Leo E. Strine Jr. Oct 2020

Toward Racial Equality: The Most Important Things The Business Community Can Do, Leo E. Strine Jr.

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

In this address, former Chief Justice Strine kicked-off an important series, the Conference on Racial Equity in Corporate Governance, co-sponsored by the Millstein Center for Global Markets and Corporate Governance, Columbia Law School; the Institute for Law & Economics, University of Pennsylvania; the Rock Center for Corporate Governance, Stanford University; and the Stanford Center for Racial Justice, Stanford Law School.

The address explains the importance of institutional investors and corporations contributing to ending the persistent inequality suffered by black Americans. And it focuses on the reality that we would have made huge strides toward closing the race gap if our corporate governance and political systems ...


Corporate Law And The Myth Of Efficient Market Control, William W. Bratton, Simone Sepe Jan 2020

Corporate Law And The Myth Of Efficient Market Control, William W. Bratton, Simone Sepe

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

In recent times, there has been an unprecedented shift in power from managers to shareholders, a shift that realizes the long-held theoretical aspiration of market control of the corporation. This Article subjects the market control paradigm to comprehensive economic examination and finds it wanting.

The market control paradigm relies on a narrow economic model that focuses on one problem only, management agency costs. With the rise of shareholder power, we need a wider lens that also takes in market prices, investor incentives, and information asymmetries. General equilibrium theory (GE) provides that lens. Several lessons follow from reference to this higher-order ...


Shareholder Collaboration, Jill E. Fisch, Simone M. Sepe Jan 2020

Shareholder Collaboration, Jill E. Fisch, Simone M. Sepe

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Two models of the firm dominate corporate law. Under the management-power model, decision-making power rests primarily with corporate insiders (officers and directors). The competing shareholder-power model defends increased shareholder power to limit managerial authority. Both models view insiders and shareholders as engaged in a competitive struggle for corporate power in which corporate law functions to promote operational efficiency while limiting managerial agency costs. As scholars and judges continue to debate the appropriate balance of power between shareholders and insiders, corporate practice has moved on. Increasingly, the insider–shareholder dynamic is collaborative, not competitive.

This Article traces the development of insider ...


From Apathy To Activism: The Emergence, Impact, And Future Of Shareholder Activism As The New Corporate Governance Norm, Lisa M. Fairfax May 2019

From Apathy To Activism: The Emergence, Impact, And Future Of Shareholder Activism As The New Corporate Governance Norm, Lisa M. Fairfax

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

The conventional and long-held view that public company shareholders are, and should be, rationally apathetic is waning. Today, public company shareholders are active. Such shareholders have actively sought to increase their voting power and influence over director elections and other important corporate matters. These shareholders not only have been voting, but they also have been voting against management preferences. Moreover, public company shareholders increasingly have begun to request, and in some instances demand, that corporate officers and directors engage with them around a range of issues. The shift away from shareholder apathy reflects a radical departure from the traditional corporate ...


Centros, California’S “Women On Boards” Statute And The Scope Of Regulatory Competition, Jill E. Fisch, Steven Davidoff Solomon Jan 2019

Centros, California’S “Women On Boards” Statute And The Scope Of Regulatory Competition, Jill E. Fisch, Steven Davidoff Solomon

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

We examine the Centros decision through the lens of SB 826 – the California statute mandating a minimum number of women on boards. SB 826, like the Centros decision, raises questions about the scope of the internal affairs doctrine and its role in encouraging regulatory competition. Despite the claim that US corporate law is characterized by regulatory competition, in the US, the internal affairs doctrine has led to less variation in corporate law than in Europe. We theorize that this is due to the shareholder primacy norm in US corporate law which results in the internal affairs doctrine focusing on matters ...


All On Board? Board Diversity Trends Reflect Signs Of Promise And Concern, Lisa Fairfax Jan 2019

All On Board? Board Diversity Trends Reflect Signs Of Promise And Concern, Lisa Fairfax

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

This Article argues that while there is considerable reason to be optimistic about the possibility that board diversity efforts will create meaningful change in the number of women who occupy board positions, that optimism must be tempered by certain trends suggesting that the board diversity effort will continue to confront challenges. The recently enacted California law mandating board diversity has the potential to significantly increase board diversity not only at those companies that fall within the law’s purview, but also with respect to other companies that may be motivated to increase their board diversity efforts as a result of ...


Amending Corporate Charters And Bylaws, Albert H. Choi, Geeyoung Min Aug 2017

Amending Corporate Charters And Bylaws, Albert H. Choi, Geeyoung Min

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Recently, courts have embraced the contractarian theory that corporate charters and bylaws constitute a “contract” between the shareholders and the corporation and have been more willing to uphold bylaws unilaterally adopted by the directors. This paper examines the contractarian theory by drawing a parallel between amending charters and bylaws, on the one hand, and amending contracts, on the other. In particular, the paper compares the right to unilaterally amend corporate bylaws with the right to unilaterally modify contract terms, and highlights how contract law imposes various limitations on the modifying party’s discretion. More generally, when the relationship of contracting ...


Buying Monopoly: Antitrust Limits On Damages For Externally Acquired Patents, Erik N. Hovenkamp, Herbert J. Hovenkamp Jan 2017

Buying Monopoly: Antitrust Limits On Damages For Externally Acquired Patents, Erik N. Hovenkamp, Herbert J. Hovenkamp

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

The “monopoly” authorized by the Patent Act refers to the exclusionary power of individual patents. That is not the same thing as the acquisition of individual patent rights into portfolios that dominate a market, something that the Patent Act never justifies and that the antitrust laws rightfully prohibit.

Most patent assignments are procompetitive and serve to promote the efficient commercialization of patented inventions. However, patent acquisitions may also be used to combine substitute patents from external patentees, giving the acquirer an unearned monopoly position in the relevant technology market. A producer requires only one of the substitutes, but by acquiring ...


Does Majority Voting Improve Board Accountability?, Stephen Choi, Jill E. Fisch, Marcel Kahan, Edward B. Rock Jan 2016

Does Majority Voting Improve Board Accountability?, Stephen Choi, Jill E. Fisch, Marcel Kahan, Edward B. Rock

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Directors have traditionally been elected by a plurality of the votes cast. This means that in uncontested elections, a candidate who receives even a single vote is elected. Proponents of “shareholder democracy” have advocated a shift to a majority voting rule in which a candidate must receive a majority of the votes cast to be elected. Over the past decade, they have been successful, and the shift to majority voting has been one of the most popular and successful governance reforms.

Yet critics are sceptical as to whether majority voting improves board accountability. Tellingly, directors of companies with majority voting ...


Introduction To Institutional Investor Activism: Hedge Funds And Private Equity, Economics And Regulation, William W. Bratton, Joseph A. Mccahery Jan 2015

Introduction To Institutional Investor Activism: Hedge Funds And Private Equity, Economics And Regulation, William W. Bratton, Joseph A. Mccahery

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

The increase in institutional ownership of recent decades has been accompanied by an enhanced role played by institutions in monitoring companies’ corporate governance behaviour. Activist hedge funds and private equity firms have achieved a degree of success in actively shaping the business plans of target firms. They may be characterized as pursuing a common goal – in the words used in the OECD Steering Group on Corporate Governance, both seek ‘to increase the market value of their pooled capital through active engagement with individual public companies. This engagement may include demands for changes in management, the composition of the board, dividend ...


Framing A Purpose For Corporate Law, William W. Bratton Jul 2014

Framing A Purpose For Corporate Law, William W. Bratton

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

This article seeks to frame a short statement of purpose for corporate law on which all reasonable observers can agree. The statement, in order to succeed at its intended purpose, must satisfy two strict conditions: first, it must have enough content to be meaningful; second, it must be completely uncontroversial, both descriptively and normatively. The exercise, thus described, involves avoiding the issues that occupy center stage in discussions about corporate law while at the same time highlighting the discussants’ generally held presuppositions. Three closely interconnected issues arise. First, whether the statement of the purpose of corporate law should speak in ...


Separation Anxiety: A Cautious Endorsement Of The Independent Board Chair, Lisa Fairfax Jan 2014

Separation Anxiety: A Cautious Endorsement Of The Independent Board Chair, Lisa Fairfax

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

This Article critically examines the competing arguments related to splitting the roles of CEO and board chair. Although the campaign for independent board chairs has received increased attention from shareholders and regulators, there has been very little academic analysis of such campaign. This Article seeks to fill this void not only by examining the campaign, but also by assessing its implications in light of the available empirical evidence and normative claims. Based on this assessment, this Article offers two conclusions. First, while there appear to be costs associated with splitting the roles of CEO and board chair, those costs likely ...


Toward A Theory Of Shareholder Leverage, Lisa Fairfax Jan 2014

Toward A Theory Of Shareholder Leverage, Lisa Fairfax

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

On Friday, April 11, and Saturday, April 12, 2014, the UCLA School of Law Lowell Milken Institute for Business Law and Policy sponsored a conference on competing theories of corporate governance.

Corporate law and economics scholarship initially relied mainly on agency cost and nexus of contracts models. In recent years, however, various scholars have built on those foundations to construct three competing models of corporate governance: director primacy, shareholder primacy, and team production.

The shareholder primacy model treats the board of directors as agents of the shareholders charged with maximizing shareholder wealth. Scholars such as Lucian Bebchuk working with this ...


Mandating Board-Shareholder Engagement?, Lisa Fairfax Jan 2013

Mandating Board-Shareholder Engagement?, Lisa Fairfax

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

This Article not only argues that corporations must be encouraged to enhance the level of communication between shareholders and the board, but also maintains that the benefits of increased engagement

are significant enough that we should consider developing standards for incentivizing, if not mandating, more robust board-shareholder engagement for corporations that fail to respond to such encouragement. In the last several years, shareholders not only have gained increased authority over corporate elections and governance

matters, but also have demonstrated a willingness to use that authority to challenge, and even reject, management policies and practices. Shareholders also have begun to demand ...


Sue On Pay: Say On Pay’S Impact On Directors’ Fiduciary Duties, Lisa Fairfax Jan 2013

Sue On Pay: Say On Pay’S Impact On Directors’ Fiduciary Duties, Lisa Fairfax

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

This Article advances a normative case for using say on pay litigation to enhance the state courts’ role in policing directors’ compensation decisions. Outrage over what many perceive to be excessive executive compensation has escalated dramatically in recent years. In 2010, such outrage prompted Congress to mandate say on pay—a nonbinding shareholder vote on executive compensation. In the wake of say on pay votes, some shareholders have brought suit against directors alleging that a negative vote indicates a breach of directors’ fiduciary duties. To date, the vast majority of courts have rejected these suits. This Article insists that such ...


A Transactional Genealogy Of Scandal: From Michael Milken To Enron To Goldman Sachs, William W. Bratton, Adam J. Levitin Jan 2013

A Transactional Genealogy Of Scandal: From Michael Milken To Enron To Goldman Sachs, William W. Bratton, Adam J. Levitin

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Three scandals have reshaped business regulation over the past thirty years: the securities fraud prosecution of Michael Milken in 1988, the Enron implosion of 2001, and the Goldman Sachs “ABACUS” enforcement action of 2010. The scandals have always been seen as unrelated. This Article highlights a previously unnoticed transactional affinity tying these scandals together—a deal structure known as the synthetic collateralized debt obligation involving the use of a special purpose entity (“SPE”). The SPE is a new and widely used form of corporate alter ego designed to undertake transactions for its creator’s accounting and regulatory benefit.

The SPE ...


Managing Expectations: Does The Directors' Duty To Monitor Promise More Than It Can Deliver?, Lisa Fairfax Oct 2012

Managing Expectations: Does The Directors' Duty To Monitor Promise More Than It Can Deliver?, Lisa Fairfax

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

This article grapples with whether we are expecting too much from the duty of oversight. The directors’ oversight duty refers to directors’ responsibility to actively monitor corporate officers, employees, and corporate affairs. Directors breach their oversight duty when officers and employees engage in wrongdoing that causes harm to the corporation and that wrongdoing can be attributed to directors’ failure to monitor. In other words, oversight liability holds directors liable for their failure to act under circumstances where it can be proven that directors should have acted and their actions could have prevented corporate harm.

The significance of directors’ oversight duty ...


The Destructive Ambiguity Of Federal Proxy Access, Jill E. Fisch May 2012

The Destructive Ambiguity Of Federal Proxy Access, Jill E. Fisch

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

After almost seventy years of debate, on August 25, 2010, the SEC adopted a federal proxy access rule. This Article examines the new rule and concludes that, despite the prolonged rule-making effort, the new rule is ambiguous in its application and unlikely to increase shareholder input into the composition of corporate boards. More troubling is the SEC’s ambiguous justification for its rule which is neither grounded in state law nor premised on a normative vision of the appropriate role of shareholder nominations in corporate governance. Although the federal proxy access rule drew an unprecedented number of comment letters and ...


The Insignificance Of Proxy Access, Marcel Kahan, Edward B. Rock Jan 2011

The Insignificance Of Proxy Access, Marcel Kahan, Edward B. Rock

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

No abstract provided.


The Political Economy Of Fraud On The Market, William W. Bratton, Michael L. Wachter Jan 2011

The Political Economy Of Fraud On The Market, William W. Bratton, Michael L. Wachter

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

No abstract provided.


Securities Intermediaries And The Separation Of Ownership From Control, Jill E. Fisch Jul 2010

Securities Intermediaries And The Separation Of Ownership From Control, Jill E. Fisch

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

The Modern Corporation and Private Property highlighted the evolving separation of ownership and control in the public corporation and the effects of that separation on the allocation of power within the corporation. This essay explores the implications of intermediation for those themes. The article observes that intermediation, by decoupling economic ownership and decision-making authority within the shareholder, creates a second layer of agency issues beyond those identified by Berle and Means. These agency issues are an important consideration in the current debate over shareholder empowerment. The article concludes by considering the hypothetical shareholder construct implicit in the Berle and Means ...


The Need For Prosecutorial Discretion, Stephanos Bibas Jan 2010

The Need For Prosecutorial Discretion, Stephanos Bibas

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

No abstract provided.


The Case Against Shareholder Empowerment, William W. Bratton, Michael L. Wachter Jan 2010

The Case Against Shareholder Empowerment, William W. Bratton, Michael L. Wachter

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

No abstract provided.


The Power Of Proxy Advisors: Myth Or Reality?, Stephen Choi, Jill E. Fisch, Marcel Kahan Jan 2010

The Power Of Proxy Advisors: Myth Or Reality?, Stephen Choi, Jill E. Fisch, Marcel Kahan

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Recent regulatory changes increasing shareholder voting authority have focused attention on the role of proxy advisors. In particular, greater shareholder empowerment raises the question of how much proxy advisors influence voting outcomes. This Article analyzes the significance of voting recommendations issued by four proxy advisory firms in connection with uncontested director elections. We find, consistent with press reports, that Institutional Shareholder Services (ISS) is the most powerful proxy advisor and that, of the others, only Glass, Lewis & Co. seems to have a meaningful impact on shareholder voting. This Article also attempts to measure the impact of voting recommendations on voting ...


The Non-Management Side Of Academic Administration, Michael A. Fitts Jan 2010

The Non-Management Side Of Academic Administration, Michael A. Fitts

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

No abstract provided.


Product Life Cycle Theory And The Maturation Of The Internet, Christopher S. Yoo Nov 2009

Product Life Cycle Theory And The Maturation Of The Internet, Christopher S. Yoo

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Much of the recent debate over Internet policy has focused on the permissibility of business practices that are becoming increasingly common, such as new forms of network management, prioritization, pricing, and strategic partnerships. This Essay analyzes these developments through the lens of the management literature on the product life cycle, dominant designs, technological trajectories and design hierarchies, and the role of complementary assets in determining industry structure. This analysis suggests that many of these business practices may represent nothing more than a reflection of how the nature of competition changes as industries mature. This in turn suggests that network neutrality ...


Prosecutorial Regulation Versus Prosecutorial Accountability, Stephanos Bibas Apr 2009

Prosecutorial Regulation Versus Prosecutorial Accountability, Stephanos Bibas

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

No government official has as much unreviewable power or discretion as the prosecutor. Few regulations bind or even guide prosecutorial discretion, and fewer still work well. Most commentators favor more external regulation by legislatures, judges, or bar authorities. Neither across-the-board legislation nor ex post review of individual cases has proven to be effective, however. Drawing on management literature, this article reframes the issue as a principal-agent problem and suggests corporate strategies for better serving the relevant stakeholders. Fear of voters could better check prosecutors, as could victim participation in individual cases. Scholars have largely neglected the most promising avenue of ...


Rewarding Prosecutors For Performance, Stephanos Bibas Feb 2009

Rewarding Prosecutors For Performance, Stephanos Bibas

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Prosecutorial discretion is a problem that most scholars attack from the outside. Most scholars favor external institutional solutions, such as ex ante legislation or ex post judicial and bar review of individual cases of misconduct. At best these approaches can catch the very worst misconduct. They lack inside information and sustained oversight and cannot generate and enforce fine-grained rules to guide prosecutorial decisionmaking. The more promising alternative is to work within prosecutors' offices, to create incentives for good performance. This symposium essay explores a neglected toolbox that head prosecutors can use to influence line prosecutors: compensation and other rewards. Rewards ...


Director Elections And The Role Of Proxy Advisors, Stephen Choi, Jill E. Fisch, Marcel Kahan Jan 2009

Director Elections And The Role Of Proxy Advisors, Stephen Choi, Jill E. Fisch, Marcel Kahan

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Using a dataset of proxy recommendations and voting results for uncontested director elections from 2005 and 2006 at S&P 1500 companies, we examine how advisors make their recommendations. Of the four firms we study, Institutional Shareholder Services (ISS), Proxy Governance (PGI), Glass Lewis (GL), and Egan Jones (EJ), ISS has the largest market share and is widely regarded as the most influential. We find that the four proxy advisory firms differ substantially from each other both in their willingness to issue a withhold recommendation and in the factors that affect their recommendation. It is not clear that these differences ...