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Restoration: The Role Stakeholder Governance Must Play In Recreating A Fair And Sustainable American Economy A Reply To Professor Rock, Leo E. Strine Jr. Dec 2020

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

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

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 ...


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 ...


Toward Fair And Sustainable Capitalism: A Comprehensive Proposal To Help American Workers, Restore Fair Gainsharing Between Employees And Shareholders, And Increase American Competitiveness By Reorienting Our Corporate Governance System Toward Sustainable Long-Term Growth And Encouraging Investments In America’S Future, Leo E. Strine Sep 2019

Toward Fair And Sustainable Capitalism: A Comprehensive Proposal To Help American Workers, Restore Fair Gainsharing Between Employees And Shareholders, And Increase American Competitiveness By Reorienting Our Corporate Governance System Toward Sustainable Long-Term Growth And Encouraging Investments In America’S Future, Leo E. Strine

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

To promote fair and sustainable capitalism and help business and labor work together to build an American economy that works for all, this paper presents a comprehensive proposal to reform the American corporate governance system by aligning the incentives of those who control large U.S. corporations with the interests of working Americans who must put their hard-earned savings in mutual funds in their 401(k) and 529 plans. The proposal would achieve this through a series of measured, coherent changes to current laws and regulations, including: requiring not just operating companies, but institutional investors, to give appropriate consideration to ...


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 ...


Governance By Contract: The Implications For Corporate Bylaws, Jill E. Fisch Jan 2018

Governance By Contract: The Implications For Corporate Bylaws, Jill E. Fisch

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Boards and shareholders are increasing using charter and bylaw provisions to customize their corporate governance. Recent examples include forum selection bylaws, majority voting bylaws and advance notice bylaws. Relying on the contractual conception of the corporation, Delaware courts have accorded substantial deference to board-adopted bylaw provisions, even those that limit shareholder rights.

This Article challenges the rationale for deference under the contractual approach. With respect to corporate bylaws, the Article demonstrates that shareholder power to adopt and amend the bylaws is, under Delaware law, more limited than the board’s power to do so. As a result, shareholders cannot effectively ...


Before International Tax Reform, We Need To Understand Why Firms Invert, Michael S. Knoll Sep 2017

Before International Tax Reform, We Need To Understand Why Firms Invert, Michael S. Knoll

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

A wave of corporate inversions by U.S. firms over the past two decades has generated substantial debate in academic, business, and policy circles.

The core of the debate hinges on a couple of key economic questions: Do U.S. tax laws disadvantage U.S.-domiciled companies relative to their foreign competitors? And, if so, do inversions improve the competitiveness of U.S. multinational firms both abroad and at home?

There is unfortunately little, if any, empirical work directly determining whether U.S.-based MNCs are currently tax-disadvantaged compared to their foreign rivals, or measuring the amount by which (if ...


Regulatory Entrepreneurship, Elizabeth Pollman, Jordan M. Barry Jan 2017

Regulatory Entrepreneurship, Elizabeth Pollman, Jordan M. Barry

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

This Article examines what we term “regulatory entrepreneurship” — pursuing a line of business in which changing the law is a significant part of the business plan. Regulatory entrepreneurship is not new, but it has become increasingly salient in recent years as companies from Airbnb to Tesla, and from DraftKings to Uber, have become agents of legal change. We document the tactics that companies have employed, including operating in legal gray areas, growing “too big to ban,” and mobilizing users for political support. Further, we theorize the business and law-related factors that foster regulatory entrepreneurship. Well-funded, scalable, and highly connected startup ...


Appraising Merger Efficiencies, Herbert J. Hovenkamp Jan 2017

Appraising Merger Efficiencies, Herbert J. Hovenkamp

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Mergers of business firms violate the antitrust laws when they threaten to lessen competition, which generally refers to a price increase resulting from a reduction in output. However, a merger that threatens competition may also enable the post-merger firm to reduce its costs or improve its product. Attitudes toward mergers are heavily driven by assumptions about efficiency gains. If mergers of competitors never produced efficiency gains but simply reduced the number of competitors, a strong presumption against them would be warranted. We tolerate most mergers because of a background, highly generalized belief that most or at least many produce cost ...


Institutional Investors In Corporate Governance, Edward B. Rock Jul 2015

Institutional Investors In Corporate Governance, Edward B. Rock

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

This chapter of the Oxford Handbook on Corporate Law and Governance examines the role of institutional investors in corporate governance and the role of regulation in encouraging institutional investors to become active stewards. I approach these topics through asking what lessons we can draw from the U.S. experience for the E.U.’s 2014 proposed amendments to the Shareholder Rights Directive.

I begin by defining the institutional investor category, and summarizing the growth of institutional investors’ equity holdings over time. I then briefly survey how institutional investors themselves are governed and how they organize share voting. This leads me ...


The Mess At Morgan: Risk, Incentives And Shareholder Empowerment, Jill E. Fisch Jan 2015

The Mess At Morgan: Risk, Incentives And Shareholder Empowerment, Jill E. Fisch

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

The financial crisis of 2008 focused increasing attention on corporate America and, in particular, the risk-taking behavior of large financial institutions. A growing appreciation of the “public” nature of the corporation resulted in a substantial number of high profile enforcement actions. In addition, demands for greater accountability led policymakers to attempt to harness the corporation’s internal decision-making structure, in the name of improved corporate governance, to further the interest of non-shareholder stakeholders. Dodd-Frank’s advisory vote on executive compensation is an example.

This essay argues that the effort to employ shareholders as agents of public values and, thereby, to ...


Rediscovering Corporate Governance In Bankruptcy, David A. Skeel Jr. Jan 2015

Rediscovering Corporate Governance In Bankruptcy, David A. Skeel Jr.

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

In this Essay on Lynn LoPucki and Bill Whitford’s corporate reorganization project, written for a symposium honoring Bill Whitford, I begin by very briefly describing its historical antecedents. The project draws on the insights and perspectives of two closely intertwined traditions: the legal realism of 1930s, whose exemplars included William Douglas and other participants in the SEC study; and the law in action movement at the University of Wisconsin. In Section II, I briefly survey the key contributions of the corporate governance project, which punctured the then-conventional wisdom about the treatment of shareholders in bankruptcy, managers’ principal allegiance, and ...


Symbolic Corporate Governance Politics, Marcel Kahan, Edward B. Rock Jan 2014

Symbolic Corporate Governance Politics, Marcel Kahan, Edward B. Rock

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

How are we to understand the persistent gap between rhetoric and reality that characterizes so much of corporate governance politics? In this Article, we show that the rhetoric around a variety of high profile corporate governance controversies (including shareholder proposals asking boards to redeem poison pills, proxy access, majority voting in director elections, and shareholder proposals to remove supermajority voting requirements) cannot be justified by the material interests at stake. At the same time, shareholder activists are oddly reluctant to pursue issues that may have a more material impact, such as anti-pill charter provisions or mandatory bylaw amendments. We consider ...


Corporate Governance And Social Welfare In The Common Law World, David A. Skeel Jr. Jan 2014

Corporate Governance And Social Welfare In The Common Law World, David A. Skeel Jr.

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

The newest addition to the spate of recent theories of comparative corporate governance is Corporate Governance in the Common-Law World: The Political Foundations of Shareholder Power, an important new book by Christopher Bruner. Focusing on the U.S., the U.K., Canada and Australia, Bruner argues that the robustness of the country’s social welfare system is the key determinant of the extent to which its corporate governance is shareholder-centered. This explains why corporate governance is so shareholder-oriented in the United Kingdom, which has universal healthcare and generous unemployment benefits, while shareholders’ powers are more attenuated in the United States ...


The Marginalist Revolution In Corporate Finance: 1880-1965, Herbert J. Hovenkamp Jul 2011

The Marginalist Revolution In Corporate Finance: 1880-1965, Herbert J. Hovenkamp

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

During the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries fundamental changes in economic thought revolutionized the theory of corporate finance, leading to changes in its legal regulation. The changes were massive, and this branch of financial analysis and law became virtually unrecognizable to those who had practiced it earlier. The source of this revision was the marginalist, or neoclassical, revolution in economic thought. The classical theory had seen corporate finance as an historical, relatively self-executing inquiry based on the classical theory of value and administered by common law courts. By contrast, neoclassical value theory was forward looking and as a result ...


A Preface To Neoclassical Legal Thought, Herbert J. Hovenkamp Jun 2011

A Preface To Neoclassical Legal Thought, Herbert J. Hovenkamp

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Most legal historians speak of the period following classical legal thought as “progressive legal thought.” That term creates an unwarranted bias in characterization, however, creating the impression that conservatives clung to an obsolete “classical” ideology, when in fact they were in many ways just as revisionist as the progressives legal thinkers whom they critiqued. The Progressives and New Deal thinkers whom we identify with progressive legal thought were nearly all neoclassical, or marginalist, in their economics, but it is hardly true that all marginalists were progressives. For example, the lawyers and policy makers in the corporate finance battles of the ...


A Comprehensive Theory Of Deal Structure: Understanding How Transactional Structure Creates Value, Michael S. Knoll, Daniel M. G. Raff Jan 2010

A Comprehensive Theory Of Deal Structure: Understanding How Transactional Structure Creates Value, Michael S. Knoll, Daniel M. G. Raff

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

No abstract provided.


Tracking Berle's Footsteps: The Trail Of The Modern Corporation's Law Chapter, William W. Bratton, Michael L. Wachter Jan 2010

Tracking Berle's Footsteps: The Trail Of The Modern Corporation's Law Chapter, William W. Bratton, Michael L. Wachter

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

No abstract provided.


The Law Of Vertical Integration And The Business Firm: 1880-1960, Herbert J. Hovenkamp Jan 2010

The Law Of Vertical Integration And The Business Firm: 1880-1960, Herbert J. Hovenkamp

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Vertical integration occurs when a firm does something for itself that it could otherwise procure on the market. For example, a manufacturer that opens its own stores is said to be vertically integrated into distribution. One irony of history is that both classical political economy and neoclassicism saw vertical integration and vertical contractual arrangements as much less threatening to competition than cartels or other horizontal arrangements. Nevertheless, vertical integration has produced by far the greater amount of legislation at both federal and state levels and has motivated many more political action groups. Two things explain this phenomenon. First, while economists ...


Lyondell: A Note Of Approbation, William W. Bratton Jan 2010

Lyondell: A Note Of Approbation, William W. Bratton

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

No abstract provided.


The Overstated Promise Of Corporate Governance, Jill E. Fisch Jan 2010

The Overstated Promise Of Corporate Governance, Jill E. Fisch

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

No abstract provided.


Confronting The Circularity Problem In Private Securities Litigation, Jill E. Fisch Jan 2009

Confronting The Circularity Problem In Private Securities Litigation, Jill E. Fisch

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Many critics argue that private securities litigation fails effectively either to deter corporate misconduct or to compensate defrauded investors. In particular, commentators reason that damages reflect socially inefficient transfer payments—the so-called circularity problem. Fox and Mitchell address the circularity problem by identifying new reasons why private litigation is an effective deterrent, focusing on the role of disclosure in improving corporate governance. The corporate governance rationale for securities regulation is more powerful than the authors recognize. By collecting and using corporate information in their trading decisions, informed investors play a critical role in enhancing market efficiency. This efficiency, in turn ...


Unentrapped, William W. Bratton Jan 2009

Unentrapped, William W. Bratton

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

No abstract provided.


Neoclassicism And The Separation Of Ownership And Control, Herbert J. Hovenkamp Jan 2009

Neoclassicism And The Separation Of Ownership And Control, Herbert J. Hovenkamp

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

"Separation of ownership and control" is a phrase whose history will forever be associated with Adolf A. Berle and Gardiner C. Means' The Modern Corporation and Private Property (1932), as well as with Institutionalist economics, Legal Realism, and the New Deal. Within that milieu the large publicly held business corporation became identified with excessive managerial power at the expense of stockholders, social irresponsibility, and internal inefficiency. Neoclassical economists both then and ever since have generally been critical, both of the historical facts that Berle and Means purported to describe and of the conclusions that they drew. In fact, however, within ...


Agency Costs, Charitable Trusts, And Corporate Control: Evidence From Hershey's Kiss-Off, Jonathan Klick, Robert H. Sitkoff May 2008

Agency Costs, Charitable Trusts, And Corporate Control: Evidence From Hershey's Kiss-Off, Jonathan Klick, Robert H. Sitkoff

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

In July 2002 the trustees of the Milton Hershey School Trust announced a plan to diversify the Trust’s investment portfolio by selling the Trust’s controlling interest in the Hershey Company. The Company’s stock jumped from $62.50 to $78.30 on news of the proposed sale. But the Pennsylvania Attorney General, who was then running for governor, opposed the sale on the ground that it would harm the local community. Shortly after the Attorney General obtained a preliminary injunction, the trustees abandoned the sale and the Company’s stock dropped to $65.00. Using standard event study ...


Shareholder Primacy's Corporatist Origins: Adolf Berle And The Modern Corporation, William W. Bratton, Michael L. Wachter Jan 2008

Shareholder Primacy's Corporatist Origins: Adolf Berle And The Modern Corporation, William W. Bratton, Michael L. Wachter

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

No abstract provided.


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

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

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

No abstract provided.


Private Equity's Three Lessons For Agency Theory, William W. Bratton Jan 2008

Private Equity's Three Lessons For Agency Theory, William W. Bratton

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

No abstract provided.


Private Standards, Public Governance: A New Look At The Financial Accounting Standards Board, William W. Bratton Jan 2007

Private Standards, Public Governance: A New Look At The Financial Accounting Standards Board, William W. Bratton

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

The Financial Accounting Standards Board (the “FASB”) presents a puzzle: How has this private standard setter managed simultaneously (1) to remain independent, (2) to achieve institutional stability and legitimacy, and (3) to operate in a politicized context in the teeth of op-position from its own constituents? This Article looks to governance design to account for this institutional success. The FASB’s founders made a strategic choice to create a regulatory agency that sought independence rather than political responsiveness. The FASB also set out a coherent theory of accounting, the “Conceptual Framework,” to contain and direct its decisions. The Conceptual Framework ...


Labor Unions: A Corporatist Institution In A Competitive World, Michael L. Wachter Jan 2007

Labor Unions: A Corporatist Institution In A Competitive World, Michael L. Wachter

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Union membership, as a percentage of the private sector workforce, has been in decline for 50 years. I argue that the cause of this unrelenting decline is a single, fundamental factor – the change in the United States economy from a corporatist-regulated economy to one based on free competition. Most labor commentators have explained the decline by a confluence of unrelated economic and legal forces. Labor economists typically stress economic explanations, which vary from compositional shifts in the job structure to increased competition both domestically and internationally. On the other hand, labor law commentators naturally focus on labor law explanations, such ...


Does Analyst Independence Sell Investors Short?, Jill E. Fisch Jan 2007

Does Analyst Independence Sell Investors Short?, Jill E. Fisch

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Regulators responded to the analyst scandals of the late 1990s by imposing extensive new rules on the research industry. These rules include a requirement forcing financial firms to separate investment banking operations from research. Regulators argued, with questionable empirical support, that the reforms were necessary to eliminate analyst conflicts of interest and ensure the integrity of sell-side research.

By eliminating investment banking revenues as a source for funding research, the reforms have had substantial effects. Research coverage of small issuers has been dramatically reduced—the vast majority of small capitalization firms now have no coverage at all. The market for ...