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Full-Text Articles in Law

Corporate Governance Reform And The Sustainability Imperative, Christopher Bruner Feb 2022

Corporate Governance Reform And The Sustainability Imperative, Christopher Bruner

Scholarly Works

Recent years have witnessed a significant upsurge of interest in alternatives to shareholder-centric corporate governance, driven by a growing sustainability imperative—widespread recognition that business as usual, despite the short-term returns generated, could undermine social and economic stability and even threaten our long-term survival if we fail to grapple with associated costs. We remain poorly positioned to assess corporate governance reform options, however, because prevailing theoretical lenses effectively cabin the terms of the debate in ways that obscure many of the most consequential possibilities. According to prevailing frameworks, our options essentially amount to board-versus-shareholder power, and shareholder-versus stakeholder purpose. This narrow …


Shareholder Voting And The Symbolic Politics Of Corporation As Contract, Grant M. Hayden, Matthew T. Bodie Jan 2018

Shareholder Voting And The Symbolic Politics Of Corporation As Contract, Grant M. Hayden, Matthew T. Bodie

Faculty Journal Articles and Book Chapters

American corporations are structured in such a way that shareholders, and shareholders alone, have the right to vote in all significant corporate decisions. Over the years, this exclusive shareholder franchise has been supported by an ongoing procession of justifications. But as those arguments have fallen by the wayside, shareholder primacists have circled back and latched upon a final argument for the special voting status of shareholders, arguing that this fundamental feature of corporate governance is the product of the set of freely-bargained-for agreements among all corporate constituents. Because this set of agreements reflects the preferences of all parties to the …


Center-Left Politics And Corporate Governance: What Is The 'Progressive' Agenda?, Christopher Bruner Jan 2018

Center-Left Politics And Corporate Governance: What Is The 'Progressive' Agenda?, Christopher Bruner

Scholarly Works

For as long as corporations have existed, debates have persisted among scholars, judges, and policymakers regarding how best to describe their form and function as a positive matter, and how best to organize relations among their various stakeholders as a normative matter. This is hardly surprising given the economic and political stakes involved with control over vast and growing "corporate" resources, and it has become commonplace to speak of various approaches to corporate law in decidedly political terms. In particular, on the fundamental normative issue of the aims to which corporate decision-making ought to be directed, shareholder-centric conceptions of the …


Shareholder Voting And The Symbolic Politics Of Corporation As Contract, Matthew T. Bodie, Grant M. Hayden Jan 2018

Shareholder Voting And The Symbolic Politics Of Corporation As Contract, Matthew T. Bodie, Grant M. Hayden

All Faculty Scholarship

American corporations are structured in such a way that shareholders, and shareholders alone, have the right to vote in all significant corporate decisions. Over the years, this exclusive shareholder franchise has been supported by an ongoing procession of justifications. But as those arguments have fallen by the wayside, shareholder primacists have circled back and latched upon a final argument for the special voting status of shareholders, arguing that this fundamental feature of corporate governance is the product of the set of freely-bargained-for agreements among all corporate constituents. Because this set of agreements reflects the preferences of all parties to the …


Corporate Ethics, Agency, And The Theory Of The Firm, Robert J. Rhee Jan 2008

Corporate Ethics, Agency, And The Theory Of The Firm, Robert J. Rhee

Faculty Scholarship

This conference paper suggests that the problem of corporate ethics cannot be reduced to the autonomous person. Although the greatest influence on action and choice is one's moral constitution, it does not follow that the agent's behavior is the same within or without the firm. Ethics is a function of corporate form. The theory of agency cannot dismiss the firm as a fiction or metaphorical shorthand since that which does not exist should not be able to cause ethical breakdowns in corporate action. Thus, the theory of the firm, which emphasizes profit and wealth maximization, should incorporate a richer, more …


Corporate Ethics, Agency, And The Theory Of The Firm, Robert J. Rhee Jan 2008

Corporate Ethics, Agency, And The Theory Of The Firm, Robert J. Rhee

UF Law Faculty Publications

This conference paper suggests that the problem of corporate ethics cannot be reduced to the autonomous person. Although the greatest influence on action and choice is one's moral constitution, it does not follow that the agent's behavior is the same within or without the firm. Ethics is a function of corporate form. The theory of agency cannot dismiss the firm as a fiction or metaphorical shorthand since that which does not exist should not be able to cause ethical breakdowns in corporate action. Thus, the theory of the firm, which emphasizes profit and wealth maximization, should incorporate a richer, more …


From Pluralism To Individualism: Berle And Means And 20th-Century American Legal Thought, Dalia Tsuk Mitchell Jan 2005

From Pluralism To Individualism: Berle And Means And 20th-Century American Legal Thought, Dalia Tsuk Mitchell

GW Law Faculty Publications & Other Works

This article is an intellectual history of Adolf A. Berle, Jr. and Gardiner C. Means, The Modern Corporation and Private Property (1932). I argue that Berle and Means's concern was not the separation of ownership from control in large pubic corporations, as many scholars have suggested, but rather the allocation of power between the state and a wide range of institutions. As I demonstrate, Berle and Means shared a legal pluralist vision of the modern state. Legal pluralism treated organizations as centers of power that had to be accommodated within the political and legal structure. Berle and Means viewed collective …


The Mandatory Structure Of Corporate Law, Jeffrey N. Gordon Jan 1989

The Mandatory Structure Of Corporate Law, Jeffrey N. Gordon

Faculty Scholarship

It has become standard in the law and economics literature to refer to the corporation as a "nexus of contracts." On this view, the corporate entity is nothing more than a gathering point for a series of contracts, express and implied, among assorted actors: shareholders, bondholders, managers, employees, suppliers and customers, for example. This view rankles some sensibilities, because the economists' conception of a "contract" as an arrangement between two or more actors supported by reciprocal expectations and behavior is far broader than the lawyer's conception, which focuses on the existence of judicially cognizable duties and obligations. Thus the lawyer, …