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To Steal or Not to Steal: Firm Attributes, Legal Environment, and Valuation

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  • ART DURNEV
  • E. HAN KIM

Abstract

Data on corporate governance and disclosure practices reveal wide within-country variation that decreases with the strength of investors' legal protection. A simple model identifies three firm attributes related to that variation: investment opportunities, external financing, and ownership structure. Using firm-level governance and transparency data from 27 countries, we find that all three firm attributes are related to the quality of governance and disclosure practices, and firms with higher governance and transparency rankings are valued higher in stock markets. All relations are stronger in less investor-friendly countries, demonstrating that firms adapt to poor legal environments to establish efficient governance practices. Copyright 2005 by The American Finance Association.

Suggested Citation

  • Art Durnev & E. Han Kim, 2005. "To Steal or Not to Steal: Firm Attributes, Legal Environment, and Valuation," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 60(3), pages 1461-1493, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:jfinan:v:60:y:2005:i:3:p:1461-1493
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Stijn Claessens & Simeon Djankov & Joseph P. H. Fan & Larry H. P. Lang, 2002. "Disentangling the Incentive and Entrenchment Effects of Large Shareholdings," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 57(6), pages 2741-2771, December.
    2. Raghuram G. Rajan & Luigi Zingales, 2000. "The Great Reversals: The Politics of Financial Development in the 20th Century," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 265, OECD Publishing.
    3. Krishna B. Kumar & Raghuram G. Rajan & Luigi Zingales, "undated". "What Determines Firm Size?," CRSP working papers 496, Center for Research in Security Prices, Graduate School of Business, University of Chicago.
    4. Rajan, Raghuram G & Zingales, Luigi, 1998. "Financial Dependence and Growth," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(3), pages 559-586, June.
    5. T. S. Breusch & A. R. Pagan, 1980. "The Lagrange Multiplier Test and its Applications to Model Specification in Econometrics," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 47(1), pages 239-253.
    6. Claessens, Stijn & Djankov, Simeon & Lang, Larry H. P., 2000. "The separation of ownership and control in East Asian Corporations," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 58(1-2), pages 81-112.
    7. Randall Morck & Andrei Shleifer & Robert W. Vishny, 1986. "Management Ownership and Corporate Performance: An Empirical Analysis," NBER Working Papers 2055, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    JEL classification:

    • G32 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Financing Policy; Financial Risk and Risk Management; Capital and Ownership Structure; Value of Firms; Goodwill
    • K23 - Law and Economics - - Regulation and Business Law - - - Regulated Industries and Administrative Law

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