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The Small World of Corporate Boards

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  • Martin J. Conyon
  • Mark R. Muldoon

Abstract

We demonstrate the importance of graph theory for understanding boards of directors. Specifically, we focus on the 'small world' phenomenon. Our empirical results show that a random graph model is remarkably good at explaining board structure and connectedness in the United States, the United Kingdom and Germany. Although there are small-world traits such as 'clustering' and 'short-paths' in the corporate world, they are no more pronounced than would be expected by chance in a statistically similar, but randomly assembled corporate universe. In short, boards of directors, especially in the United States, are no more 'clubby' than expected. Finally, our results show the existence of positive degree correlation: directors who sit on many boards do so in the company of other directors who sit on many boards. Board members whose services are in high demand, serve on boards with similar directors. Copyright 2006 The Authors Journal compilation (c) 2006 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Wiley Blackwell in its journal Journal of Business Finance & Accounting.

Volume (Year): 33 (2006-11)
Issue (Month): 9-10 ()
Pages: 1321-1343

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Handle: RePEc:bla:jbfnac:v:33:y:2006-11:i:9-10:p:1321-1343

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Cited by:
  1. Encarnacion Algaba & Jesus Mario Bilbao & Rene van den Brink, 2011. "Harsanyi Power Solutions for Games on Union Stable Systems," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 11-182/1, Tinbergen Institute.
  2. Stefania Vitali & Stefano Battiston, 2013. "The Community Structure of the Global Corporate Network," Papers 1301.2363, arXiv.org.
  3. Lauren Cohen & Andrea Frazzini & Christopher Malloy, 2008. "The Small World of Investing: Board Connections and Mutual Fund Returns," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 116(5), pages 951-979, October.
  4. Lauren Cohen & Andrea Frazzini & Christopher Malloy, 2010. "Sell-Side School Ties," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, American Finance Association, vol. 65(4), pages 1409-1437, 08.
  5. Sheen S. Levine & Robert Kurzban, 2006. "Explaining clustering in social networks: towards an evolutionary theory of cascading benefits," Managerial and Decision Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 27(2-3), pages 173-187.
  6. Huang, Chung-Yuan & Tsai, Yu-Shiuan, 2010. "Effects of friend-making resources/costs and remembering on acquaintance networks," Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications, Elsevier, vol. 389(3), pages 604-622.
  7. Encarnacion Algaba & Jesus Mario Bilbao & Rene van den Brink, 2011. "Harsanyi Power Solutions for Games on Union Stable Systems," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 11-182/1, Tinbergen Institute.
  8. Mendes-Da-Silva, Wesley, 2011. "Small worlds and board interlocking in Brazil: a longitudinal study of corporate networks, 1997-2007," MPRA Paper 34152, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  9. Laurienti, Paul J. & Joyce, Karen E. & Telesford, Qawi K. & Burdette, Jonathan H. & Hayasaka, Satoru, 2011. "Universal fractal scaling of self-organized networks," Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications, Elsevier, vol. 390(20), pages 3608-3613.
  10. R. Andergassen, 2011. "Board of director collusion, managerial incentives and firm values," Working Papers wp795, Dipartimento Scienze Economiche, Universita' di Bologna.
  11. Thomas Kirchmaier & Konstantinos Stathopoulos, 2008. "From fiction to fact: the impact of CEO social networks," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library 24427, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.

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