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Capital, Labor, and The Firm: A Study of German Codetermination

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Author Info

  • Gary Gorton

    (University of Pennsylvania and NBER)

  • Frank A. Schmid

    (Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis)

Abstract

Under the German corporate governance system of codetermination, employees are legally allocated control rights over corporate assets through seats on the supervisory board-that is, the board of nonexecutive directors. The supervisory board oversees the management board-the board of executive directors-approves or rejects its decisions, and appoints its members and sets their salaries.We empirically investigate the implications of this sort of labor participation in corporate decision making. We find that companies with equal representation of employees and shareholders on the supervisory board trade at a 31% stock market discount as compared with companies where employee representatives fill only one-third of the supervisory board seats. We show that under equal representation, management board compensation provides incentives that are not conducive to furthering shareholders' interests, possibly because labor maximizes a different objective function than shareholders. We document that, under equal representation, companies have longer payrolls than their one-third representation peers have. Finally, we provide evidence that shareholders respond to the allocation of control rights to labor by linking supervisory board compensation to firm performance and by leveraging up the firm. (JEL: G32, G34) Copyright (c) 2004 by the European Economic Association.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by MIT Press in its journal Journal of the European Economic Association.

Volume (Year): 2 (2004)
Issue (Month): 5 (09)
Pages: 863-905

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Handle: RePEc:tpr:jeurec:v:2:y:2004:i:5:p:863-905

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Cited by:
  1. Joachim Wagner, 2011. "One-third Codetermination at Company Supervisory Boards and Firm Performance in German Manufacturing Industries: First Direct Evidence from a New Type of Enterprise Data," Schmollers Jahrbuch : Journal of Applied Social Science Studies / Zeitschrift für Wirtschafts- und Sozialwissenschaften, Duncker & Humblot, Berlin, vol. 131(1), pages 91-106.
  2. Franziska Boneberg, 2010. "The Economic Consequences of one-third Codetermination in German Supervisory Boards: First Evidence for the Service Sector from a New Source of Enterprise Data," Working Paper Series in Economics 177, University of Lüneburg, Institute of Economics.
  3. Waxin, Timothée, 2010. "The Impact of Founding-Family Ownership on Labor Relations : Evidence from French Workplace-Level Data," Economics Papers from University Paris Dauphine 123456789/5892, Paris Dauphine University.
  4. Edmans, Alex, 2011. "Does the stock market fully value intangibles? Employee satisfaction and equity prices," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 101(3), pages 621-640, September.
  5. Adams, Renee & Hermalin, Benjamin E. & Weisbach, Michael S., 2009. "The Role of Boards of Directors in Corporate Governance: A Conceptual Framework and Survey," Working Paper Series 2008-21, Ohio State University, Charles A. Dice Center for Research in Financial Economics.
  6. Berger, Allen N. & Kick, Thomas & Schaeck, Klaus, 2012. "Executive board composition and bank risk taking," Discussion Papers 03/2012, Deutsche Bundesbank, Research Centre.
  7. Chilosi, Alberto & Damiani, Mirella, 2007. "Stakeholders vs. shareholders in corporate governance," MPRA Paper 2334, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  8. Edith Ginglinger & William Megginson & Timothee Waxin, 2011. "Employee Ownership, Board Representation, and Corporate Financial Policies," Post-Print halshs-00626310, HAL.
  9. repec:pdn:wpaper:1 is not listed on IDEAS
  10. Balsmeier, Benjamin & Bermig, Andreas & Dilger, Alexander, 2013. "Corporate governance and employee power in the boardroom: An applied game theoretic analysis," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 91(C), pages 51-74.
  11. Alex Edmans & Lucius Li & Chendi Zhang, 2014. "Employee Satisfaction, Labor Market Flexibility, and Stock Returns Around The World," NBER Working Papers 20300, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Fauver, Larry & Fuerst, Michael E., 2006. "Does good corporate governance include employee representation? Evidence from German corporate boards," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 82(3), pages 673-710, December.
  13. Wolfgang Eggert & Alfons Weichenrieder & Jeremy S.S. Edwards, 2006. "The Measurement of Firm Ownership and its Effect on Managerial Pay," Working Papers CIE 1, University of Paderborn, CIE Center for International Economics.
  14. Ginglinger, Edith & Waxin, Timothée & Megginson, William, 2009. "Employee Ownership, Board Representation, and Corporate Financial Policies," Economics Papers from University Paris Dauphine 123456789/3864, Paris Dauphine University.
  15. Schmid, Thomas & Ampenberger, Markus & Kaserer, Christoph & Achleitner, Ann-Kristin, 2010. "Controlling shareholders and payout policy: do founding families have a special 'taste for dividends'?," CEFS Working Paper Series 2010-01, Center for Entrepreneurial and Financial Studies (CEFS), Technische Universität München.

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