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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 ...


The Economics Of Class Action Waivers, Albert H. Choi, Kathryn E. Spier Mar 2021

The Economics Of Class Action Waivers, Albert H. Choi, Kathryn E. Spier

Articles

Many firms require consumers, employees, and suppliers to sign class action waivers as a condition of doing business with the firm, and the U.S. Supreme Court has endorsed companies’ ability to block class actions through mandatory individual arbitration clauses. Are class action waivers serving the interests of society or are they facilitating socially harmful business practices? This paper synthesizes and extends the existing law and economics literature by analyzing the firms’ incentive to impose class action waivers. While in many settings the firms’ incentive to block class actions may be aligned with maximizing social welfare, in many other settings ...


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 ...


Federalizing Tax Justice, Reuven Avi-Yonah, Orli Avi-Yonah, Nir Fishbien, Hayian Xu Feb 2021

Federalizing Tax Justice, Reuven Avi-Yonah, Orli Avi-Yonah, Nir Fishbien, Hayian Xu

Articles

The United States is the only large federal country that does not have an explicit way to reduce the economic disparities among more and less developed regions. In Germany, for example, federal revenues are distributed by a formula that takes into account the relative level of wealth of each state (the so-called Finanzausgleich, or fiscal equalization). Similar mechanisms are found in Australia, Canada, India, and other large federal countries. The United States, on the other hand, has no such explicit redistribution. Each state is generally considered equal and sovereign, and the federal government does not distribute revenues to equalize the ...


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 ...


Is There A Delaware Effect For Controlled Firms?, Edward Fox Jan 2021

Is There A Delaware Effect For Controlled Firms?, Edward Fox

Articles

The impact of Delaware incorporation on firm value remains a central question in corporate law. Despite the difficulty scholars have had in agreeing on an answer to this question, there is a consensus that Delaware has long enjoyed stable and important advantages in the expertise of its judiciary and its extensive case law. These advantages are believed to be particularly important for firms with a controlling shareholder. This Article attempts to empirically measure the effect of Delaware incorporation on these controlled firms and thus helps us understand the market value of Delaware’s judiciary and case law. It finds, surprisingly ...


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 ...


A Letter To The United States Government On Wealth And Income Inequality, Matthieu Maier Nov 2020

A Letter To The United States Government On Wealth And Income Inequality, Matthieu Maier

English Department: Research for Change - Wicked Problems in Our World

The United States of America is the world’s hotspot when it comes to income and wealth inequality. The wealthiest Americans are accumulating more and more wealth everyday while most Americans, who fall somewhere around middle-class, remain struggling and stagnant. The United States’ unchecked and deregulated system of capitalism is the root cause of our country’s inequities along with our government’s refusal to set aside self-interests and biases in order to combat these issues. From the inequality caused by rouged American systems larger issues are created that lead to complications in health, wages, standard of living, and race ...


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 ...


A Positive Dialectic: Beps And The United States, Reuven S. Avi-Yonah Sep 2020

A Positive Dialectic: Beps And The United States, Reuven S. Avi-Yonah

Articles

This essay addresses the interaction between the changes in the international tax regime identified by Mason and U.S. international tax policy. Specifically, I will argue that contrary to the general view, the United States actively implemented the Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD)/G20 Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) recommendations through the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 (TCJA). Moreover, the changes of the TCJA influenced the current OECD effort of BEPS 2.0. Thus, the current state of affairs can be characterized as a constructive dialogue: The OECD moves (BEPS 1), the United States responds ...


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 ...


Caremark And Esg, Perfect Together: A Practical Approach To Implementing An Integrated, Efficient, And Effective Caremark And Eesg Strategy, Leo E. Strine Jr., Kirby M. Smith, Reilly S. Steel Jul 2020

Caremark And Esg, Perfect Together: A Practical Approach To Implementing An Integrated, Efficient, And Effective Caremark And Eesg Strategy, Leo E. Strine Jr., Kirby M. Smith, Reilly S. Steel

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

With increased calls from investors, legislators, and academics for corporations to consider employee, environmental, social, and governance factors (“EESG”) when making decisions, boards and managers are struggling to situate EESG within their existing reporting and organizational structures. Building on an emerging literature connecting EESG with corporate compliance, this Essay argues that EESG is best understood as an extension of the board’s duty to implement and monitor a compliance program under Caremark. If a company decides to do more than the legal minimum, it will simultaneously satisfy legitimate demands for strong EESG programs and promote compliance with the law. Building ...


Consent, Coercion, And Employment Law, Samuel R. Bagenstos Jul 2020

Consent, Coercion, And Employment Law, Samuel R. Bagenstos

Articles

The Roberts Court has recently handed several high-profile wins in labor and employment law cases to anti-labor and pro-employer forces. This paper argues that those decisions replicate crucial moves made by some infamous Lochner-era cases — and that those same moves continue to underlie key elements of labor and employment doctrine more generally. In particular, these decisions rest on a contestable understanding of free worker choice. This paper begins by examining the key recent Roberts Court decisions and demonstrates that they appear to invoke at least two distinct and conflicting understandings of employee and employer choice. It then turns to the ...


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 ...


From Public Health To Public Wealth: The Case For Economic Justice, Barbara L. Atwell Apr 2020

From Public Health To Public Wealth: The Case For Economic Justice, Barbara L. Atwell

Elisabeth Haub School of Law Faculty Publications

This Article examines how we can overlay the principle of serving the common good, which undergirds public health law, onto financial well-being. It suggests that we apply public health law principles to corporate law and culture. In matters of public health, we view quite broadly states' police power to protect the public good. Government is also empowered to protect the general welfare in matters of financial well-being. Using the “general welfare” as a guidepost, this Article challenges the conventional wisdom that corporations exist solely to maximize profit and shareholder value to the exclusion of virtually everything else. It proposes two ...


Does Capital Bear The U.S. Corporate Tax After All? New Evidence From Corporate Tax Returns, Edward Fox Mar 2020

Does Capital Bear The U.S. Corporate Tax After All? New Evidence From Corporate Tax Returns, Edward Fox

Articles

This article uses U.S. corporate tax return data to assess how government revenue would have changed if, over the period 1957–2013, corporations had been subject to a hypothetical corporate cash flow tax—that is, a tax allowing for the immediate deduction of investments in long-lived assets like equipment and structures—rather than the corporate tax regime actually in effect. Holding taxpayer behavior fixed, the data indicate actual corporate tax revenue over the most recent period (1995–2013) differed little from that under the hypothetical cash flow tax. This result has three important implications. First, capital owners appear to ...


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 ...


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 ...


In Defense Of Breakups: Administering A “Radical” Remedy, Rory Van Loo Jan 2020

In Defense Of Breakups: Administering A “Radical” Remedy, Rory Van Loo

Faculty Scholarship

Calls for breaking up monopolies—especially Amazon, Facebook, and Google—have largely focused on proving that past acquisitions of companies like Whole Foods, Instagram, and YouTube were anticompetitive. But scholars have paid insufficient attention to another major obstacle that also explains why the government in recent decades has not broken up a single large company. After establishing that an anticompetitive merger or other act has occurred, there is great skepticism of breakups as a remedy. Judges, scholars, and regulators see a breakup as extreme, frequently comparing the remedy to trying to “unscramble eggs.” They doubt the government’s competence in ...


Brief Of Amici Curiae Law And Economics Scholars In Support Of Appellee And Affirmance, Mark A. Lemley, A. Douglas Melamed, Steven C. Salop Nov 2019

Brief Of Amici Curiae Law And Economics Scholars In Support Of Appellee And Affirmance, Mark A. Lemley, A. Douglas Melamed, Steven C. Salop

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

In reliance on Qualcomm’s FRAND promises, key SSOs incorporated its technologies into wireless standards. Qualcomm takes the position that its patented technologies are essential to those standards and, therefore, that any firm making or selling a standard-compliant product infringes its patents. As a result, the SSOs’ incorporation of Qualcomm’s patented technologies into wireless standards created a huge market for licenses to Qualcomm’s SEPs.

The district court held that Qualcomm used its chipset monopolies, not only to extract the high chip-set prices to which it was entitled, but also to perpetuate those monopolies by disadvantaging rival chip-makers and ...


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 ...


The Reverse Agency Problem In The Age Of Compliance, Asaf Eckstein, Gideon Parchomovsky Sep 2019

The Reverse Agency Problem In The Age Of Compliance, Asaf Eckstein, Gideon Parchomovsky

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

The agency problem, the idea that corporate directors and officers are motivated to prioritize their self-interest over the interest of their corporation, has had long-lasting impact on corporate law theory and practice. In recent years, however, as federal agencies have stepped up enforcement efforts against corporations, a new problem that is the mirror image of the agency problem has surfaced—the reverse agency problem. The surge in criminal investigations against corporations, combined with the rising popularity of settlement mechanisms including Pretrial Diversion Agreements (PDAs), and corporate plea agreements, has led corporations to sacrifice directors and officers in order to reach ...


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


Making Sustainability Disclosure Sustainable, Jill E. Fisch Apr 2019

Making Sustainability Disclosure Sustainable, Jill E. Fisch

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Sustainability is receiving increasing attention from issuers, investors and regulators. The desire to understand issuer sustainability practices and their relationship to economic performance has resulted in a proliferation of sustainability disclosure regimes and standards. The range of approaches to disclosure, however, limit the comparability and reliability of the information disclosed. The Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC) has solicited comment on whether to require expanded sustainability disclosures in issuer’s periodic financial reporting, and investors have communicated broad-based support for such expanded disclosures, but, to date, the SEC has not required general sustainability disclosure.

This Article argues that claims about the relationship ...


Inter Vivos Transfers Of Ownership In Family Firms, James R. Hines Jr., Niklas Potrafke, Marina Riem, Christoph Schinke Apr 2019

Inter Vivos Transfers Of Ownership In Family Firms, James R. Hines Jr., Niklas Potrafke, Marina Riem, Christoph Schinke

Articles

This paper examines the determinants of inter vivos (lifetime) transfers of ownership in German family firms between 2000 and 2013. Survey evidence indicates that owners of firms with strong current business conditions transfer ownership at higher rates than others. When a firm’s self-described business condition improves from “normal” to “good,” the relative likelihood of an inter vivos transfer increases by 46 percent. Inter vivos transfer rates also rose following a 2009 reform that reduced transfer taxes. These patterns suggest that transfer taxes significantly influence rates and timing of inter vivos ownership transfers.


The Supreme Court Bar At The Bar Of Patents, Paul Gugliuzza Mar 2019

The Supreme Court Bar At The Bar Of Patents, Paul Gugliuzza

Faculty Scholarship

Over the past two decades, a few dozen lawyers have come to dominate practice before the U.S. Supreme Court. By many accounts, these elite lawyers—whose clients are often among the largest corporations in the world—have spurred the Court to hear more cases that businesses care about and to decide those cases in favor of their clients. The Supreme Court’s recent case law on antitrust, arbitration, punitive damages, class actions, and more provides copious examples.

Though it is often overlooked in discussions of the emergent Supreme Court bar, patent law is another area in which the Court ...


The Games They Will Play: Tax Games, Roadblocks, And Glitches Under The 2017 Tax Legislation, David Kamin, David Gamage, Ari Glogower, Rebecca Kysar, Darien Shanske, Reuven S. Avi-Yonah, Lily Batchelder, J. Clifton Fleming, Daniel Hemel, Mitchell Kane, David Miller, Daniel Shaviro, Manoj Viswanathan Feb 2019

The Games They Will Play: Tax Games, Roadblocks, And Glitches Under The 2017 Tax Legislation, David Kamin, David Gamage, Ari Glogower, Rebecca Kysar, Darien Shanske, Reuven S. Avi-Yonah, Lily Batchelder, J. Clifton Fleming, Daniel Hemel, Mitchell Kane, David Miller, Daniel Shaviro, Manoj Viswanathan

Articles

The 2017 tax legislation brought sweeping changes to the rules for taxing individuals and business, the deductibility of state and local taxes, and the international tax regime. The complex legislation was drafted and passed through a rushed and secretive process intended to limit public comment on one of the most consequential pieces of domestic policy enacted in recent history. This Article is an effort to supply the analysis and deliberation that should have accompanied the bill’s consideration and passage, and describes key problem areas in the new legislation. Many of the new changes fundamentally undermine the integrity of the ...


The Futility Of Walls: How Traveling Corporations Threaten State Sovereignty, Darren Rosenblum Jan 2019

The Futility Of Walls: How Traveling Corporations Threaten State Sovereignty, Darren Rosenblum

Elisabeth Haub School of Law Faculty Publications

Inversions--mergers in which one firm merges with another abroad to avoid taxes in its home country--have spread as globalization has reduced many of the transactional costs associated with relocating. As firms acquire the power to choose the laws that govern them, they challenge the sovereignty of nation-states, who find their ability to tax and regulate firms depleted. States and firms compete in a game of cat and mouse to adapt to this new global reality. The subversion of state power by these firms reveals the futility of walls, both literal and regulatory. This Essay describes the phenomenon of these “traveling ...


Book Review: Global Lawmakers: International Organizations In The Crafting Of World Markets By Susan Block-Lieb And Terence C. Halliday, Melissa J. Durkee Jan 2019

Book Review: Global Lawmakers: International Organizations In The Crafting Of World Markets By Susan Block-Lieb And Terence C. Halliday, Melissa J. Durkee

Scholarly Works

Susan Block-Lieb and Terence Halliday gradually build up an empirically grounded, meticulously realized argument that individual lawmakers matter. When one allows facts to inform theory rather than the other way around, the authors show, what becomes clear is that individual lawmakers are not just governmental delegates, but a whole variety of professionals, industry association representatives, and others with some stake in the lawmaking process. These actors work not just through formal processes, but also through an array of informal ones. Most importantly, their presence matters to the content of the legal norms that take hold around the world. The book ...


Negotiating The Lender Of Last Resort: The 1913 Federal Reserve Act As A Debate Over Credit Distribution, Nadav Orian Peer Jan 2019

Negotiating The Lender Of Last Resort: The 1913 Federal Reserve Act As A Debate Over Credit Distribution, Nadav Orian Peer

Articles

“Lending of last resort” is one of the key powers of central banks. As a lender of last resort, the Federal Reserve (the “Fed”) famously supports commercial banks facing distressed liquidity conditions, thereby mitigating destabilizing bank runs. Less famously, lender-of-last-resort powers also influence the distribution of credit among different groups in society and therefore have high stakes for economic inequality. The Fed’s role as a lender of last resort witnessed an unprecedented expansion during the 2007–2009 Crisis when the Fed invoked emergency powers to lend to a new set of borrowers known as “shadow banks”. The decision proved ...