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Corporate Governance in Asia: A Survey

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  • Stijn Claessens
  • Joseph P. H. Fan

Abstract

Corporate governance has received much attention in recent years, partly due to the Asian financial crisis. We review the literature on corporate governance issues in Asia to develop region‐specific and general lessons. Much attention has been given to poor corporate sector performance, but most studies do not suggest that Asian firms were badly run. The literature does confirm the limited protection of minority rights in Asia, allowing controlling shareholders to expropriate minority shareholders. Agency problems have been exacerbated by low corporate transparency, associated with rent‐seeking and relationship‐based transactions, extensive group structures and diversification, and risky financial structures. The controlling shareholder bears some of agency costs in the form of share price discounts and expenditures on monitoring, bonding and reputation building. The Asian financial crisis further showed that conventional and alternative corporate governance mechanisms can have limited effectiveness in systems with weak institutions and poor property rights. Overall, the understanding of the determinants of firm organizational structures, corporate governance practices and outcomes remains limited, however.

Suggested Citation

  • Stijn Claessens & Joseph P. H. Fan, 2002. "Corporate Governance in Asia: A Survey," International Review of Finance, International Review of Finance Ltd., vol. 3(2), pages 71-103, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:irvfin:v:3:y:2002:i:2:p:71-103
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    File URL: https://doi.org/10.1111/1468-2443.00034
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    1. Claessens, Stijn & Fan, Joseph P.H. & Lang, Larry H.P., 2006. "The benefits and costs of group affiliation: Evidence from East Asia," Emerging Markets Review, Elsevier, vol. 7(1), pages 1-26, March.
    2. Acemoglu, Daron & Johnson, Simon & Robinson, James & Thaicharoen, Yunyong, 2003. "Institutional causes, macroeconomic symptoms: volatility, crises and growth," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(1), pages 49-123, January.
    3. Ferri, Giovanni & Tae Soo Kang & In-June Kim, 2001. "The value of relationship banking during financial crises : evidence from the Republic of Korea," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2553, The World Bank.
    4. Paul Gompers & Joy Ishii & Andrew Metrick, 2003. "Corporate Governance and Equity Prices," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 118(1), pages 107-156.
    5. Harvey, Campbell R. & Lins, Karl V. & Roper, Andrew H., 2004. "The effect of capital structure when expected agency costs are extreme," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 74(1), pages 3-30, October.
    6. Suto, Megumi, 2001. "Capital Structure and Investment Behaviour of Malaysian Firms in the 1990s: A Study of Corporate Governance before the Crisis," CEI Working Paper Series 2001-9, Center for Economic Institutions, Institute of Economic Research, Hitotsubashi University.
    7. Charumilind, Chutatong & Kali, Raja & Wiwattanakantang, Yupana, 2002. "Crony Lending: Thailand before the Financial Crisis," CEI Working Paper Series 2002-4, Center for Economic Institutions, Institute of Economic Research, Hitotsubashi University.
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