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

Law Commons

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

Corporate governance

Series

Discipline
Institution
Publication Year
Publication

Articles 1 - 30 of 469

Full-Text Articles in Law

Purpose Proposals, Jill E. Fisch Apr 2022

Purpose Proposals, Jill E. Fisch

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Repurposing the corporation is the hot issue in corporate governance. Commentators, investors and increasingly issuers, maintain that corporations should shift their focus from maximizing profits for shareholders to generating value for a more expansive group of stakeholders. Corporations are also being called upon to address societal concerns – from climate change and voting rights to racial justice and wealth inequality.

The shareholder proposal rule, Rule 14a–8, offers one potential tool for repurposing the corporation. This Article describes the introduction of innovative proposals seeking to formalize corporate commitments to stakeholder governance. These “purpose proposals” reflect a new dynamic in the debate ...


Initial Public Offering And Optimal Corporate Governance, Albert H. Choi Feb 2022

Initial Public Offering And Optimal Corporate Governance, Albert H. Choi

Law & Economics Working Papers

This paper examines the long-standing debate over whether firms have a market-based incentive to adopt optimal governance provisions at their initial public offering (IPO). Various scholars and practitioners have argued that firms that offer stock to the public with suboptimal governance structure will be penalized by the market through a lower IPO price. At the same time, others have documented empirical evidence that many IPO firms have putatively suboptimal governance provisions, such as anti-takeover provisions and dual class structure, and many, especially those with dual-class structure, enjoy a market premium at their IPO. This paper attempts to bridge this gap ...


A Duty To Diversify, Anat Alon-Beck, Darren Rosenblum, Michal Agmon-Gonnen Jan 2022

A Duty To Diversify, Anat Alon-Beck, Darren Rosenblum, Michal Agmon-Gonnen

Faculty Publications

Fiduciary duties reflect the central role of leaders in corporate governance. Those with the most responsibility benefit the most from corporate success, but also bear commensurate fiduciary responsibilities. Equality, diversity, and inclusion may seem an odd fit among other fiduciary duties. However, fiduciary duties are where governance imposes the burden of “doing the right thing.” Fiduciary duties involve normatively good behavior that proves essential to ensuring responsible decision-making and achieving positive outcomes for firms.

Corporate law allows, encourages and perhaps, today, even mandates, corporate leaders to do the right thing. Not only does it seem appropriate to ask corporate leaders ...


The Long-Term Effects Of Short Selling And Negative Activism, Peter Molk, Frank Partnoy Jan 2022

The Long-Term Effects Of Short Selling And Negative Activism, Peter Molk, Frank Partnoy

UF Law Faculty Publications

We investigate the long-term effects of short selling and “negative activism,” where activists seek to profit from declines in the share prices of targeted firms. We show that negative activism is associated with significant and declining long-term share returns and operating performance, as well as an increase in securities litigation and regulatory actions against targeted firms. We explore the policy implications of this new evidence, including ways that policy makers and market participants might take advantage of the potential benefits of short selling negative activism. Our message is straightforward: resist impulses to curb short selling, and instead embrace attempts to ...


The Banker Removal Power, Da Lin, Lev Menand Jan 2022

The Banker Removal Power, Da Lin, Lev Menand

Faculty Scholarship

The Federal Reserve (“the Fed”) can remove bankers from office if they violate the law, engage in unsafe or unsound practices, or breach their fiduciary duties. The Fed, however, has used this power so rarely that few even realize it exists. Although major U.S. banks have admitted to repeated and flagrant lawbreaking in recent years, the Fed has never removed a senior executive from one of these institutions.

This Article offers the first comprehensive account of the banker removal power. It makes four contributions. First, drawing on a range of primary sources, it recovers the power’s statutory foundations ...


Moby-Dick As Corporate Catastrophe: Law, Ethics, And Redemption, David Yosifon Dec 2021

Moby-Dick As Corporate Catastrophe: Law, Ethics, And Redemption, David Yosifon

Faculty Publications

Herman Melville’s Moby-Dick serves here as a vehicle through which to interrogate core features of American corporate law and excavate some of the deeper lessons about the human soul that lurk behind the pasteboard mask of the law’s black letter. The inquiry yields an illuminating vantage on the ethical consequences of corporate capital structure, the law of corporate purpose, the meaning of voluntarism, the ethical stakes of corporate fiduciary obligations, and the role of lawyers in preventing or facilitating corporate catastrophe. No prior familiarity with the novel or corporate law is required.


Securities Law: Overview And Contemporary Issues, Neal Newman, Lawrence J. Trautman Dec 2021

Securities Law: Overview And Contemporary Issues, Neal Newman, Lawrence J. Trautman

Faculty Scholarship

This is not your grandfather’s SEC anymore. Rapid technological change has resulted in novel regulatory issues and challenges, as law and policy struggles to keep pace. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) reports that “the U.S. capital markets are the deepest, most dynamic, and most liquid in the world. They also have evolved to become increasingly fast and extraordinarily complex. It is our job to be responsive and innovative in the face of significant market developments and trends.” With global markets increasingly interdependent and interconnected and, “as technological advancements and commercial developments have changed how our ...


Optimizing The World’S Leading Corporate Law: A 20-Year Retrospective And Look Ahead, Lawrence Hamermesh, Jack B. Jacobs, Leo E. Strine Jr. Oct 2021

Optimizing The World’S Leading Corporate Law: A 20-Year Retrospective And Look Ahead, Lawrence Hamermesh, Jack B. Jacobs, Leo E. Strine Jr.

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

In a 2001 article (Function Over Form: A Reassessment of Standards of Review in Delaware Corporation Law) two of us, with important input from the other, argued that in addressing issues like hostile takeovers, assertive institutional investors, leveraged buyouts, and contested ballot questions, the Delaware courts had done exemplary work but on occasion crafted standards of review that unduly encouraged litigation and did not appropriately credit intra-corporate procedures designed to ensure fairness. Function Over Form suggested ways to make those standards more predictable, encourage procedures that better protected stockholders, and discourage meritless litigation, by restoring business judgment rule protection for ...


Mutual Fund Stewardship And The Empty Voting Problem, Jill E. Fisch Oct 2021

Mutual Fund Stewardship And The Empty Voting Problem, Jill E. Fisch

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

When Roberta Karmel wrote the articles that are the subject of this symposium, she was skeptical of both the potential value of shareholder voting and the emerging involvement of institutional investors in corporate governance. In the ensuing years, both the increased role and engagement of institutional investors and the heightened importance of shareholder voting offer new reasons to take Professor Karmel’s concerns seriously. Institutional investors have taken on a broader range of issues ranging from diversity and political spending to climate change and human capital management, and their ability to influence corporate policy on these issues has become more ...


Sustainable Business Law? The Key Role Of Corporate Governance And Finance, Jason J. Czarnezki, Colin Meyers Oct 2021

Sustainable Business Law? The Key Role Of Corporate Governance And Finance, Jason J. Czarnezki, Colin Meyers

Elisabeth Haub School of Law Faculty Publications

Lawyers, law schools, and corporate entities have shown an increased interest in sustainable business strategies. This is reflected by the increase in sustainability practice groups, law school courses, and textbooks focusing on the relationship between sustainability and business law; lawyers moving into executive-level sustainability positions in the private sector; and the proliferation of corporate sustainability policies, as well as increased interest in mitigating climate risk and engaging in sustainable finance. But what exactly is sustainable business law, and what role do lawyers play in advancing sustainability in the corporate world? This Article argues that “sustainable business law” has emerged as ...


Federalized Corporate Governance: The Dream Of William O. Douglas As Sarbanes-Oxley Turns 20, Joan M. Heminway Oct 2021

Federalized Corporate Governance: The Dream Of William O. Douglas As Sarbanes-Oxley Turns 20, Joan M. Heminway

UTK Law Faculty Publications

The federalization of U.S. corporate governance has been a topic of conversation among policymakers from the very beginning of the federal securities laws in the New Deal era. Among the early proponents of a federalized system of corporate governance oversight was William O. Douglas—perhaps best known as the longest-serving U.S. Supreme Court justice, but who also was a former commissioner and chair of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Reflecting on Douglas’s federal corporate governance ideas, Professor Roberta Karmel wrote a law review article for the Delaware Journal of Corporate Law, published in 2005, commenting ...


Theory, Evidence, And Policy On Dual-Class Shares: A Country-Specific Response To A Global Debate, Aurelio Gurrea-Martinez Sep 2021

Theory, Evidence, And Policy On Dual-Class Shares: A Country-Specific Response To A Global Debate, Aurelio Gurrea-Martinez

Research Collection School Of Law

Dual-class shares have become one of the most controversial issues in today´s capital markets and corporate governance debates around the world. Namely, it is not clear whether companies should be allowed to go public with dual-class shares and, if so, which restrictions (if any) should be imposed. Three primary regulatory models have been adopted to deal with dual-class shares: (i) prohibitions, existing in countries like the United Kingdom, Germany, Spain, Colombia, or Argentina; (ii) the permissive model adopted in several jurisdictions, including Canada, Sweden, the Netherlands, and particularly the United States; and (iii) the restrictive approach recently implemented in ...


The Separation Of Voting And Control: The Role Of Contract In Corporate Governance, Gabriel V. Rauterberg Jun 2021

The Separation Of Voting And Control: The Role Of Contract In Corporate Governance, Gabriel V. Rauterberg

Articles

The default rules of corporate law make shareholders’ control rights a function of their voting power. Whether a director is elected or a merger is approved depends on how shareholders vote. Yet, in private corporations shareholders routinely alter their rights by contract. This phenomenon of shareholder agreements—contracts among the owners of a firm— has received far less attention than it deserves, mainly because detailed data about the actual contents of shareholder agreements has been lacking. Private companies disclose little, and shareholder agreements are thought to play a trivial or nonexistent role in public companies. I show that this is ...


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 ...


Just Say Yes? The Fiduciary Duty Implications Of Directorial Acquiescence, Lisa Fairfax Mar 2021

Just Say Yes? The Fiduciary Duty Implications Of Directorial Acquiescence, Lisa Fairfax

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

The rise in shareholder activism is one of the most significant recent phenomena in corporate governance. Shareholders have successfully managed to enhance their power within the corporation, and much of that success has resulted from corporate managers and directors voluntarily acceding to shareholder demands. Directors’ voluntary acquiescence to shareholder demands is quite simply remarkable. Remarkable because most of the changes reflect policies and practices that directors have vehemently opposed for decades, and because when opposing such changes directors stridently insisted that the changes were not in the corporation’s best interest. In light of that insistence, and numerous statements from ...


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 ...


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 ...


Delaware's Global Competitiveness, William J. Moon Jan 2021

Delaware's Global Competitiveness, William J. Moon

Faculty Scholarship

For about a hundred years, Delaware has been the leading jurisdiction for corporate law in the United States. The state, which deliberately embarked on a mission to build a haven for corporate law in the early twentieth century, now supplies corporate charters to over two thirds of Fortune 500 companies and a growing share of closely held companies. But Delaware’s domestic dominance masks the important and yet underexamined issue of whether Delaware maintains its competitive edge globally.

This Article examines Delaware’s global competitiveness, documenting Delaware’s surprising weakness competing in the emerging international market for corporate charters. It ...


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 H. Mcdonnell, Matthew T. Bodie Jan 2021

From Mandates To Governance: Restructuring The Employment Relationship, Brett H. 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 ...


Why Corporate Purpose Will Always Matter, Lyman P.Q. Johnson Jan 2021

Why Corporate Purpose Will Always Matter, Lyman P.Q. Johnson

Scholarly Articles

Business persons and lawyers (and law professors) perennially struggle over the question whether a business corporation does or should have a purpose other than advancing the interests of shareholders. After briefly setting the stage by describing the dispute over what the positive law of corporate purpose really is and the normative argument over what corporate purpose should be, this short article takes a different turn. It addresses why, in a dynamic, democratic, pluralist society, the foundational issue of corporate purpose remains so important and will not (and should not) go away. However adamantly divergent descriptive and prescriptive positions are held ...


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 ...


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

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

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Corporate purpose is the hot topic in corporate governance. Critics are calling for corporations to shift their purpose away from shareholder value as a means of addressing climate change, equity and inclusion, and other social values. We argue that this debate has overlooked the critical predicate questions of whether a corporation should have a purpose at all and, if so, what role it serves.

We start by exploring and rejecting historical, doctrinal, and theoretical bases for corporate purpose. We challenge the premise that purpose can serve a useful function either as a legal constraint on managerial discretion or as a ...


Corporate Personhood And Limited Sovereignty, Elizabeth Pollman Jan 2021

Corporate Personhood And Limited Sovereignty, Elizabeth Pollman

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

This Article, written for a symposium celebrating the work of Professor Margaret Blair, examines how corporate rights jurisprudence helped to shape the corporate form in the United States during the nineteenth century. It argues that as the corporate form became popular because of the way it facilitated capital lock-in, perpetual succession, and provided other favorable characteristics related to legal personality that separated the corporation from its participants, the Supreme Court provided crucial reinforcement of these entity features by recognizing corporations as rights-bearing legal persons separate from the government. Although the legal personality of corporations is a distinct concept from their ...


The Corporate Governance Machine, Dorothy S. Lund, Elizabeth Pollman Jan 2021

The Corporate Governance Machine, Dorothy S. Lund, Elizabeth Pollman

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

The conventional view of corporate governance is that it is a neutral set of processes and practices that govern how a company is managed. We demonstrate that this view is profoundly mistaken: in the United States, corporate governance has become a “system” composed of an array of institutional players, with a powerful shareholderist orientation. Our original account of this “corporate governance machine” generates insights about the past, present, and future of corporate governance. As for the past, we show how the concept of corporate governance developed alongside the shareholder primacy movement. This relationship is reflected in the common refrain of ...


The History And Revival Of The Corporate Purpose Clause, Elizabeth Pollman Jan 2021

The History And Revival Of The Corporate Purpose Clause, Elizabeth Pollman

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

The corporate purpose debate is experiencing a renaissance. The contours of the modern debate are relatively well developed and typically focus on whether corporations should pursue shareholder value maximization or broader social aims. A related subject that has received much less scholarly attention, however, is the formal legal mechanism by which a corporation expresses its purpose—the purpose clause of the corporate charter. This Article examines corporate purpose through the evolution of corporate charters. Starting with historic examples ranging from the Dutch East India Company to early American corporations and their modern 21st century parallels, the discussion illuminates how corporate ...


Synthetic Governance, Byung Hyun Anh, Jill E. Fisch, Panos N. Patatoukas, Steven Davidoff Solomon Jan 2021

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 ...


Corporate Law For Good People, Yuval Feldman, Adi Libson, Gideon Parchomovsky Jan 2021

Corporate Law For Good People, Yuval Feldman, Adi Libson, Gideon Parchomovsky

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

This article offers a novel analysis of the field of corporate governance by viewing it through the lens of behavioral ethics. It calls for both shifting the focus of corporate governance to a new set of loci of potential corporate wrongdoing and adding new tools to the corporate governance arsenal. The behavioral ethics scholarship emphasizes the large share of wrongdoing generated by "good people" whose intention is to act ethically. Their wrongdoing stems from "bounded ethicality" -- various cognitive and motivational processes that lead to biased decisions that seem legitimate. In the legal domain, corporate law provides the most fertile ground ...


Team Production Revisited, William W. Bratton Jan 2021

Team Production Revisited, William W. Bratton

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

This Article reconsiders Margaret Blair and Lynn Stout’s team production model of corporate law, offering a favorable evaluation. The model explains both the legal corporate entity and corporate governance institutions in microeconomic terms as the means to the end of encouraging investment, situating corporations within markets and subject to market constraints but simultaneously insisting that productive success requires that corporations remain independent of markets. The model also integrates the inherited framework of corporate law into an economically derived model of production, constructing a microeconomic description of large enterprises firmly rooted in corporate doctrine but neither focused on nor limited ...