IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Login to save this article or follow this journal

Corporate Governance and Merger Activity in the United States: Making Sense of the 1980s and 1990s

  • Bengt Holmstrom
  • Steven N. Kaplan

This paper describes and considers explanations for changes in corporate governance and merger activity in the United States since 1980. Corporate governance in the 1980s was dominated by intense merger activity distinguished by the prevalence of leveraged buyouts (LBOs) and hostility. After a brief decline in the early 1990s, substantial merger activity resumed in the second half of the decade, while LBOs and hostility did not. Instead, internal corporate governance mechanisms appear to have played a larger role in the 1990s. We conclude by considering whether these changes and the movement toward shareholder value are likely to be permanent.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: no

Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal Journal of Economic Perspectives.

Volume (Year): 15 (2001)
Issue (Month): 2 (Spring)
Pages: 121-144

in new window

Handle: RePEc:aea:jecper:v:15:y:2001:i:2:p:121-144
Note: DOI: 10.1257/jep.15.2.121
Contact details of provider: Web page:

More information through EDIRC

Order Information: Web:

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Matsusaka, J.C., 1991. "Takeover Motives During the Conglomerate Merger Wave," Papers 91-33, Southern California - School of Business Administration.
  2. Servaes, Henri, 1994. "Do Takeover Targets Overinvest?," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 7(2), pages 253-77.
  3. Meyer, Margaret A & Milgrom, Paul & Roberts, Donald John, 1992. "Organizational Prospects, Influence Costs, and Ownership Changes," CEPR Discussion Papers 665, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  4. Morck, Randall & Shleifer, Andrei & Vishny, Robert W, 1989. "Alternative Mechanisms for Corporate Control," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(4), pages 842-52, September.
  5. Jarrell, Gregg A & Brickley, James A & Netter, Jeffry M, 1988. "The Market for Corporate Control: The Empirical Evidence Since 1980," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 2(1), pages 49-68, Winter.
  6. Gregor Andrade & Steven N. Kaplan, 1997. "How Costly is Financial (not Economic) Distress? Evidence from Highly Leveraged Transactions that Became Distressed," NBER Working Papers 6145, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Holmström, Bengt, 1989. "Agency Costs and Innovation," Working Paper Series 214, Research Institute of Industrial Economics.
  8. Devra L. Golbe & Lawrence J. White, 1988. "A Time-Series Analysis of Mergers and Acquisitions in the U.S. Economy," NBER Chapters, in: Corporate Takeovers: Causes and Consequences, pages 265-310 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Marais, Laurentius & Schipper, Katherine & Smith, Abbie, 1989. "Wealth effects of going private for senior securities," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(1), pages 155-191, June.
  10. Lang, Larry H P & Stulz, Rene M, 1994. "Tobin's q, Corporate Diversification, and Firm Performance," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 102(6), pages 1248-80, December.
  11. Jose Manuel Campa & Simi Kedia, 2002. "Explaining the Diversification Discount," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 57(4), pages 1731-1762, 08.
  12. Raghuram G. Rajan & Luigi Zingales, 1998. "The Governance of the New Enterprise," CRSP working papers 487, Center for Research in Security Prices, Graduate School of Business, University of Chicago.
  13. Brian J. Hall & Jeffrey B. Liebman, 1998. "Are CEOs Really Paid Like Bureaucrats?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 113(3), pages 653-691, August.
  14. Clifford G. Holderness & Randall S. Kroszner & Dennis P. Sheehan, 1999. "Were the Good Old Days That Good? Changes in Managerial Stock Ownership Since the Great Depression," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 54(2), pages 435-469, 04.
  15. Kaplan, Steven N., 1994. "Campeau's acquisition of Federated : Post-bankruptcy results," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 35(1), pages 123-136, February.
  16. Jensen, Michael C, 1986. "Agency Costs of Free Cash Flow, Corporate Finance, and Takeovers," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(2), pages 323-29, May.
  17. Holmstrom, Bengt, 1989. "Agency costs and innovation," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 12(3), pages 305-327, December.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:aea:jecper:v:15:y:2001:i:2:p:121-144. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Jane Voros)

or (Michael P. Albert)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.