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Race to the top or bottom? Corporate governance, freedom of reincorporation and competition in law

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Author Info

  • Zsuzsanna Fluck

    ()

  • Colin Mayer

    ()

Abstract

This paper investigates the governance structure choices of firms when there is competition between legal systems. We study the impact of the allocation of control over choice of governance and reincorporation on firms’ technologies and technological specialization of countries in the context of a model of the firm in which there are agency conflicts between shareholders and managers. We show that the allocation of control over firms’ reincorporation decisions determines the corporate governance choice ex ante and the outcome of the competition between legal regimes ex post. When managers have control over firms’ reincorporation then competitive deregulation and ‘runs to the bottom’ ensue. When shareholders have partial or full control then there is diversity in governance structures. Runs to the bottom are not necessarily socially undesirable but they have a feedback effect on firms’ choices of technologies that may make the party in control worse off ex ante. We show that it is impossible for any country to achieve social welfare maximization of its existing and new enterprises. With competition between legal regimes, start-up and mature companies incorporate in different jurisdictions even when reincorporation is correctly anticipated.

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File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1007/s10436-005-0022-y
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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Springer in its journal Annals of Finance.

Volume (Year): 1 (2005)
Issue (Month): 4 (October)
Pages: 349-378

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Handle: RePEc:kap:annfin:v:1:y:2005:i:4:p:349-378

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Web page: http://www.springerlink.com/link.asp?id=112370

Related research

Keywords: Corporate governance; Competition between legal systems; Freedom of reincorporation; Shareholder protection; Technology choice; Managerial private benefits; G34; K22;

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References

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  1. Marco Pagano & Ailsa A. Röell & Josef Zechner, 2002. "The Geography of Equity Listing: Why Do Companies List Abroad?," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 57(6), pages 2651-2694, December.
  2. Lucian Arye Bebchuk & Allen Ferrell, 2001. "A New Approach to Takeover Law and Regulatory Competition," NBER Working Papers 8148, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Reese, William Jr. & Weisbach, Michael S., 2002. "Protection of minority shareholder interests, cross-listings in the United States, and subsequent equity offerings," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 66(1), pages 65-104, October.
  4. Bar-Gill, Oren & Barzuza, Michal & Bebchuk, Lucian Arye, 2002. "The Market for Corporate Law," CEPR Discussion Papers 3553, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  5. Kahan, Marcel & Kamar, Ehud, 2002. "The Myth of State Competition in Corporate Law," Berkeley Olin Program in Law & Economics, Working Paper Series qt3xq7p9xw, Berkeley Olin Program in Law & Economics.
  6. Baysinger, Barry D & Butler, Henry N, 1985. "The Role of Corporate Law in the Theory of the Firm," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 28(1), pages 179-91, April.
  7. Marco Pagano & Paolo Volpin, 1999. "The Political Economy of Corporate Governance," CSEF Working Papers 29, Centre for Studies in Economics and Finance (CSEF), University of Naples, Italy, revised 01 Jul 2005.
  8. Romano, Roberta, 1985. "Law as a Product: Some Pieces of the Incorporation Puzzle," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 1(2), pages 225-83, Fall.
  9. Fluck, Zsuzsanna, 1999. "The Dynamics of the Management-Shareholder Conflict," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 12(2), pages 379-404.
  10. Burkart, Mike & Gromb, Denis & Panunzi, Fausto, 1997. "Large Shareholders, Monitoring, and the Value of the Firm," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 112(3), pages 693-728, August.
  11. Enrico Perotti & Ernst-Ludwig von Thadden, 2002. "The Political Economy of Bank- and Market Dominance," Cahiers de Recherches Economiques du Département d'Econométrie et d'Economie politique (DEEP) 02.14, Université de Lausanne, Faculté des HEC, DEEP, revised Apr 2003.
  12. Enrico Perotti & Ernst-Ludwig von Thadden, 2005. "The Political Economy of Corporate Control," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 05-102/2, Tinbergen Institute.
  13. Daines, Robert, 2001. "Does Delaware law improve firm value?," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 62(3), pages 525-558, December.
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Cited by:
  1. Goergen, M. & Renneboog, L.D.R., 2008. "Contractual Corporate Governance," Discussion Paper 2008-41, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
  2. Albuquerque, Rui & Miao, Jianjun, 2006. "CEO Power, Compensation and Governance," CEPR Discussion Papers 5818, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  3. Bruno Deffains & Dominique Demougin, 2006. "Institutional Competition, Political Process and Holdup," SFB 649 Discussion Papers SFB649DP2006-027, Sonderforschungsbereich 649, Humboldt University, Berlin, Germany.
  4. Deffains, Bruno & Demougin, Dominique, 2008. "Legal competition, political process and irreversible investment decisions," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 24(3), pages 615-627, September.

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