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Corporate governance

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Institution
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Articles 1 - 30 of 394

Full-Text Articles in Law

The “Value” Of A Public Benefit Corporation, Jill E. Fisch, Steven Davidoff Solomon Apr 2021

The “Value” Of A Public Benefit Corporation, Jill E. Fisch, Steven Davidoff Solomon

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

We examine the “value” a PBC form provides for publicly-traded corporations. We analyze the structure of the PBC form and find that other than requiring a designated social purpose it does not differ significantly in siting control and direction with shareholders. We also examine the purpose statements in the charters of the most economically significant PBCs. We find that, independent of structural limitations on accountability, these purpose statements are, in most cases, too vague and aspirational to be legally significant, or even to serve as a reliable checks on PBC behavior. We theorize, and provide evidence, that without a legal ...


Stealth Governance: Shareholder Agreements And Private Ordering, Jill E. Fisch Mar 2021

Stealth Governance: Shareholder Agreements And Private Ordering, Jill E. Fisch

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Corporate law has embraced private ordering -- tailoring a firm’s corporate governance to meet its individual needs. Firms are increasingly adopting firm-specific governance through dual-class voting structures, forum selection provisions and tailored limitations on the duty of loyalty. Courts have accepted these provisions as consistent with the contractual theory of the firm, and statutes, in many cases, explicitly endorse their use. Commentators too support private ordering for its capacity to facilitate innovation and enhance efficiency.

Private ordering typically occurs through firm-specific charter and bylaw provisions. VC-funded startups, however, frequently use an alternative tool – shareholder agreements. These agreements, which have largely ...


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

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

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 ...


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

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

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

The hot topic in corporate governance is the debate over corporate purpose and, in particular, whether corporations should shift their purpose from the pursuit of shareholder wealth to pursuing a broader conception of stakeholder or societal value. We argue that this debate has overlooked the critical predicate questions of whether a corporation should have a purpose at all and, if so, why,

We address these questions by examining the historical, legal and theoretical justifications for corporate purpose. We find that none of the three provides a basis for requiring a corporation to articulate a particular purpose or for a given ...


Reconsidering The Evolutionary Erosion Account Of Corporate Fiduciary Law, William W. Bratton Jan 2021

Reconsidering The Evolutionary Erosion Account Of Corporate Fiduciary Law, William W. Bratton

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

This Article reconsiders the dominant account of corporate law’s duty of loyalty, which asserts that the courts have steadily relaxed standards of fiduciary scrutiny applied to self-dealing by corporate managers across more than a century of history—to the great detriment of the shareholder interest. The account originated in Harold Marsh, Jr.’s foundational article, Are Directors Trustees? Conflicts of Interest and Corporate Morality, published in The Business Lawyer in 1966. Marsh’s showing of historical lassitude has been successfully challenged in a recent book by Professor David Kershaw. This Article takes Professor Kershaw’s critique a step further ...


Shareholder Primacy And The Moral Obligation Of Directors, Mark J. Loewenstein, Jay Geyer Jan 2021

Shareholder Primacy And The Moral Obligation Of Directors, Mark J. Loewenstein, Jay Geyer

Articles

One of the most written-about and important topics in corporate law is the fiduciary obligations of corporate directors. Increasingly, critics of American capitalism have urged that corporations, and implicitly, corporate directors, act in a more socially responsible fashion and thus eschew the notion that shareholder primacy is the exclusive guide to a director’s fiduciary duty. Under this view, directors must consider the effect of their actions on “stakeholders” other than shareholders and be guided by morality—doing the right thing—when making business judgments.

When directors move away from shareholder primacy, however, decision-making becomes more difficult and problematic. This ...


From Mandates To Governance: Restructuring The Employment Relationship, Brett Mcdonnell, Matthew T. Bodie Jan 2021

From Mandates To Governance: Restructuring The Employment Relationship, Brett Mcdonnell, Matthew T. Bodie

All Faculty Scholarship

Employers are saddled with a dizzying array of responsibilities to their employees. Meant to advance a wide array of workplace policies, these demands have saddled employment with the burden of numerous social ends. However, that system has increasingly come under strain, as companies seek to shed employment relationships and workers lose important protections when terminated. In this Article, we propose that employers and employees should be given greater flexibility with a move from mandates to governance. Many of the employment protections required from employers stem from employees’ lack of organizational power. The imbalance is best addressed by providing workers with ...


Codetermination In Theory And Practice, Grant M. Hayden, Matthew T. Bodie Jan 2021

Codetermination In Theory And Practice, Grant M. Hayden, Matthew T. Bodie

All Faculty Scholarship

A system of shared corporate governance between shareholders and workers, codetermination has been mostly ignored within the U.S. corporate governance literature. When it has made an appearance, it has largely served as a foil for shareholder primacy and an example of corporate deviance. However, over the last twenty years—and especially in the last five—empirical research on codetermination has shown surprising results as to the system’s efficiency, resilience, and benefits to stakeholders. This Article reviews the extant American legal scholarship on codetermination and provides a fresh look at the current state of codetermination theory and practice. Rather ...


Cleaning Corporate Governance, Jens Frankenreiter, Cathy Hwang, Yaron Nili, Eric L. Talley Jan 2021

Cleaning Corporate Governance, Jens Frankenreiter, Cathy Hwang, Yaron Nili, Eric L. Talley

Faculty Scholarship

Although empirical scholarship dominates the field of law and finance, much of it shares a common vulnerability: an abiding faith in the accuracy and integrity of a small, specialized collection of corporate governance data. In this paper, we unveil a novel collection of three decades’ worth of corporate charters for thousands of public companies, which shows that this faith is misplaced.

We make three principal contributions to the literature. First, we label our corpus for a variety of firm- and state-level governance features. Doing so reveals significant infirmities within the most well-known corporate governance datasets, including an error rate exceeding ...


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 ...


Shareholder Value(S): Index Fund Esg Activism And The New Millennial Corporate Governance, David Webber, Michal Barzuza, Quinn Curtis Sep 2020

Shareholder Value(S): Index Fund Esg Activism And The New Millennial Corporate Governance, David Webber, Michal Barzuza, Quinn Curtis

Faculty Scholarship

Major index fund operators have been criticized as ineffective stewards of the firms in which they are now the largest shareholders. While scholars debate whether this passivity is a serious problem, index funds’ generally docile approach to ownership is broadly acknowledged.

However, this Article argues that the notion that index funds are passive owners overlooks an important dimension in which index funds have demonstrated outspoken, confrontational, and effective stewardship. Specifically, we document that index funds have taken a leading role in challenging management and voting
against directors in order to advance board diversity and corporate sustainability. We show that index ...


Federal Forum Provisions And The Internal Affairs Doctrine, Dhruv Aggarwal, Albert H. Choi, Ofer Eldar Aug 2020

Federal Forum Provisions And The Internal Affairs Doctrine, Dhruv Aggarwal, Albert H. Choi, Ofer Eldar

Articles

A key question at the intersection of state and federal law is whether corpo- rations can use their charters or bylaws to restrict securities litigation to federal court. In December 2018, the Delaware Chancery Court answered this question in the negative in the landmark decision Sciabacucchi v. Salzberg. The court invalidated “federal forum provisions” (“FFPs”) that allow companies to select federal district courts as the exclusive venue for claims brought under the Secur- ities Act of 1933 (“1933 Act”). The decision held that the internal affairs doc- trine, which is the bedrock of U.S. corporate law, does not permit ...


Climbing To 1011: Globalization, Digitization,Shareholder Capitalism And The Summits Of Contemporary Wealth, David A. Westbrook Jun 2020

Climbing To 1011: Globalization, Digitization,Shareholder Capitalism And The Summits Of Contemporary Wealth, David A. Westbrook

Journal Articles

While we may find many sorts of inequality in the United States and elsewhere, this essay is about the specific form of inequality exemplified by Jeff Bezos or Bill Gates, that is, the Himalayan summits of contemporary wealth, mostly in the United States. Such wealth results from the confluence of three historical developments.

First, the social processes referred to under the rubric of “globalization” have created vast markets. A dominant position in such markets leads not only to great wealth, but the elimination of peers. Since there are few such markets, relatively significant wealth is possessed by very few people ...


The Global Sustainability Footprint Of Sovereign Wealth Funds, Hao Liang, Luc Renneboog Jun 2020

The Global Sustainability Footprint Of Sovereign Wealth Funds, Hao Liang, Luc Renneboog

Research Collection Lee Kong Chian School Of Business

With the emergence of sovereign wealth funds (SWFs) around the world managing equity of over $8 trillion, their impact on the corporate landscape and social welfare is being scrutinized. This study investigates whether and how SWFs incorporate environmental, social, and governance (ESG) considerations in their investment decisions in publicly listed corporations, as well as the subsequent evolution of target firms' ESG performance. We find that SWF funds do consider the level of past ESG performance as well as recent ESG score improvement when taking ownership stakes in listed companies. These results are driven by the SWF funds that do have ...


Synthetic Governance, Byung Hyun Anh, Jill E. Fisch, Panos N. Patatoukas, Steven Davidoff Solomon Apr 2020

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

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

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 ...


Managerial Fixation And The Limitations Of Shareholder Oversight, Emily R. Winston Apr 2020

Managerial Fixation And The Limitations Of Shareholder Oversight, Emily R. Winston

Faculty Publications

BlackRock’s recent public letters to the CEOs of the companies in which it invests have drawn substantial attention from stock market actors and observers for their conspicuous call on corporate CEOs to focus on sustainability and social impacts on non-shareholder stakeholders. This Article explores the market changes that propelled BlackRock into a position to make such a call, and whether institutional shareholders can be effective monitors of these broad social goals. It argues that while corporate attention to non-shareholder stakeholders can improve firm value, shareholder oversight of these stakeholder relationships will not succeed in having this effect.

In the ...


Golden Parachutes And The Limits Of Shareholder Value, Albert H. Choi, Andrew C.W. Lund, Robert Schonlau Jan 2020

Golden Parachutes And The Limits Of Shareholder Value, Albert H. Choi, Andrew C.W. Lund, Robert Schonlau

Articles

With the passage of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act in 2010, Congress attempted to constrain change-in-control payments (also known as “golden parachutes”) by giving shareholders the right to approve or disapprove such payments on an advisory basis. This Essay is the first to empirically examine the experience with the Say-on-Golden-Parachute (“SOGP”) vote. We find that unlike shareholder votes on proposed mergers, there is a significant amount of variation with respect to votes on golden parachutes. Notwithstanding the variation, however, the SOGP voting regime is likely ineffective in controlling golden parachute (“GP”) compensation. First, proxy advisors seem ...


The Future (Public Company Boardroom) Is Female: From California Sb 826 To A Gender Diversity Listing Standard, Sunitha Malepati Jan 2020

The Future (Public Company Boardroom) Is Female: From California Sb 826 To A Gender Diversity Listing Standard, Sunitha Malepati

SENLC Papers & Reports

No abstract provided.


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 ...


The Case For Empowering Quality Shareholders, Lawrence A. Cunningham Jan 2020

The Case For Empowering Quality Shareholders, Lawrence A. Cunningham

GW Law Faculty Publications & Other Works

Abstract Anyone can buy stock in a public company, but not all shareholders are equally committed to a company’s long-term success. In an increasingly fragmented financial world, shareholders’ attitudes toward the companies in which they invest vary widely, from time horizon to conviction. Faced with indexers, short-term traders, and activists, it is more important than ever for businesses to ensure that their shareholders are dedicated to their missions. Today’s companies need “quality shareholders,” as Warren Buffett called those who “load up and stick around,” or buy large stakes and hold for long periods. While scholars in recent years ...


Toward A Mission Statement For Mutual Funds In Shareholder Litigation, Sean J. Griffith, Dorothy Lund Jan 2020

Toward A Mission Statement For Mutual Funds In Shareholder Litigation, Sean J. Griffith, Dorothy Lund

Faculty Scholarship

This paper analyzes the conduct of mutual funds in shareholder litigation. We begin by reviewing the basic forms of shareholder litigation and the benefits such claims might offer mutual fund investors. We then investigate, though an in-depth docket review, whether and how the ten largest mutual funds participate in shareholder litigation. We find that although shareholder suits offer potential benefits, the largest mutual funds have essentially forfeited their use of litigation. This finding is particularly striking given that index funds and other long-term oriented mutual funds generally cannot sell their shares when they are dissatisfied with company performance, leaving them ...


Board Compliance, John Armour, Brandon Garrett, Jeffrey Gordon, Geeyoung Min Jan 2020

Board Compliance, John Armour, Brandon Garrett, Jeffrey Gordon, Geeyoung Min

Faculty Scholarship

What role do corporate boards play in compliance? Compliance programs are internal enforcement programs, whereby firms train, monitor and discipline employees with respect to applicable laws and regulations. Corporate enforcement and compliance failures could not be more high-profile, and have placed boards in the position of responding to systemic problems. Both case law on boards’ fiduciary duties and guidance from prosecutors suggest that the board should have a continuing role in overseeing compliance activity. Yet very little is actually known about the role of boards in compliance. This paper offers the first empirical account of public companies’ engagement with compliance ...


Tepoel Lecture: Bond Trustees And The Rising Challenge Of Activist Investors, Steven L. Schwarcz Jan 2020

Tepoel Lecture: Bond Trustees And The Rising Challenge Of Activist Investors, Steven L. Schwarcz

Faculty Scholarship

No abstract provided.


Investment Bankers As Underwriters: Barbarians Or Gatekeepers? A Response To Brent Horton On Direct Listings, Anat Alon-Beck, Robert N. Rapp, John Livingstone Jan 2020

Investment Bankers As Underwriters: Barbarians Or Gatekeepers? A Response To Brent Horton On Direct Listings, Anat Alon-Beck, Robert N. Rapp, John Livingstone

Faculty Publications

Direct listing clearly has the potential to meaningfully disrupt the IPO process. Changes to permit primary offerings via direct listing will help private companies to overcome some of the obstacles imposed by our securities laws and listing rules. Primary offerings by direct listing would allow for a dramatic increase in efficiency in public offerings, providing further incentive for private companies to finally provide liquidity to their shareholders while saving on the tremendous cost associated with a more traditional IPO by eliminating the need for underwriters.

Despite the positive impacts that direct listings will have on the IPO process, in their ...


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 ...


The Uncertain Stewardship Potential Of Index Funds, Jill E. Fisch Jan 2020

The Uncertain Stewardship Potential Of Index Funds, Jill E. Fisch

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Regulators and commentators around the world are increasingly demanding that institutional investors engage in stewardship with respect to their portfolio companies. Further, the demand for stewardship has broadened from an expectation that investors engage to reduce agency costs and promote economic value to a call for investors to demand that companies serve a broader range of societal interests and objectives. This chapter considers calls for stewardship in the context of the U.S. capital markets specifically as applied to index funds. It argues that, irrespective of the merits of institutional stewardship generally, the structure of index funds and the business ...


Boards In Information Governance, Faith Stevelman, Sarah C. Haan Jan 2020

Boards In Information Governance, Faith Stevelman, Sarah C. Haan

Scholarly Articles

This Article focuses on the evolving role of boards of directors. It charts the decline of the two leading, twentieth-century conceptual frameworks shaping corporate boards’ roles: agency cost theory, which produced the limited “monitoring board,” and “separate realms” theory, which ceded board responsibility for matters other than profit maximization to government regulation. Hedge fund activism and wild stock market swings have exposed the limits of the board’s role in agency cost theory. The 2020 pandemic, economic crises, investors’ demands for socially responsible stewardship, and corporations’ own political activism have rendered separate realms thinking untenable.

Although much theorizing in corporate ...


Designing Business Forms To Pursue Social Goals, Ofer Eldar Jan 2020

Designing Business Forms To Pursue Social Goals, Ofer Eldar

Faculty Scholarship

The long-standing debate about the purpose and role of business firms has recently regained momentum. Business firms face growing pressure to pursue social goals and benefit corporation statutes proliferate across many U.S. states. This trend is largely based on the idea that firms increase long-term shareholder value when they contribute (or appear to contribute) to society. Contrary to this trend, this Article argues that the pressing issue is whether policies to create social impact actually generate value for third-party beneficiaries—rather than for shareholders. Because it is difficult to measure social impact with precision, the design of legal forms ...


Private Company Lies, Elizabeth Pollman Jan 2020

Private Company Lies, Elizabeth Pollman

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Rule 10b-5’s antifraud catch-all is one of the most consequential pieces of American administrative law and most highly developed areas of judicially-created federal law. Although the rule broadly prohibits securities fraud in both public and private company stock, the vast majority of jurisprudence, and the voluminous academic literature that accompanies it, has developed through a public company lens.

This Article illuminates how the explosive growth of private markets has left huge portions of U.S. capital markets with relatively light securities fraud scrutiny and enforcement. Some of the largest private companies by valuation grow in an environment of extreme ...