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Open Access. Powered by Scholars. Published by Universities.®

2009

Corporate democracy

Saint Louis University School of Law

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Arrow's Theorem And The Exclusive Shareholder Franchise, Grant M. Hayden, Matthew T. Bodie Jan 2009

Arrow's Theorem And The Exclusive Shareholder Franchise, Grant M. Hayden, Matthew T. Bodie

All Faculty Scholarship

In this essay, we contest one of the main arguments for restricting corporate board voting to shareholders. In justifying the limitation of the franchise to shareholders, scholars have repeatedly turned to social choice theory—specifically, Arrow’s theorem—to justify the exclusive shareholder franchise. Citing to the theorem, corporate law commentators have argued that lumping different groups of stakeholders together into the electorate would result in a lack of consensus and, ultimately, the lack of coherence that attends intransitive social choices, perhaps even leading the corporation to self-destruct. We contend that this argument is misguided. First, we argue that scholars ...