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Science vs. Ideology: A Comment on Lynn Stout's New Thinking on "Shareholder Primacy"

Listed author(s):
  • Robé Jean-Philippe

    (Ecole de droit de Sciences Po, Paris)

Registered author(s):

    I have never met Lynn Stout. Of course, just like any person even remotely interested in corporate governance and US corporate law, I know her insightful writings. But I do not know her personally. I know for a fact, however, that Lynn Stout is a nice person. And an excessively nice person she must be. Her paper on New Thinking on “Shareholder Primacy” talks about the surge of a new paradigm in corporate law. This is an excessively generous thesis. For we are not witnessing the takeover of an old science by a new one explaining facts better than the old stuff. We are witnessing the surge of a scientific analysis of the legal structure of the firm -and of the role of corporations to structure firms- which is replacing an ideology; not a science. This comment will comment on this ideology and the insightful critique developed by Lynn Stout in her paper.

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    Article provided by De Gruyter in its journal Accounting, Economics, and Law.

    Volume (Year): 2 (2012)
    Issue (Month): 2 (June)
    Pages: 1-13

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    Handle: RePEc:bpj:aelcon:v:2:y:2012:i:2:n:7
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    1. Jensen, Michael C. & Meckling, William H., 1976. "Theory of the firm: Managerial behavior, agency costs and ownership structure," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 3(4), pages 305-360, October.
    2. Demsetz, Harold, 1988. "The Theory of the Firm Revisited," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 4(1), pages 141-161, Spring.
    3. Yuri Biondi & Arnaldo Canziani & Thierry Kirat, 2007. "The Firm as an Entity: Implications for Economics, Accounting, and the Law," Post-Print halshs-00203355, HAL.
    4. Hart, Oliver D. & Moore, John, 1990. "Property Rights and the Nature of the Firm," Scholarly Articles 3448675, Harvard University Department of Economics.
    5. Luigi Zingales, 2000. "In Search of New Foundations," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 55(4), pages 1623-1653, 08.
    6. Fama, Eugene F, 1980. "Agency Problems and the Theory of the Firm," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 88(2), pages 288-307, April.
    7. Grossman, Sanford J & Hart, Oliver D, 1986. "The Costs and Benefits of Ownership: A Theory of Vertical and Lateral Integration," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 94(4), pages 691-719, August.
    8. Jean Tirole, 2006. "The Theory of Corporate Finance," Post-Print hal-00173191, HAL.
    9. Henry Hansmann & Reinier Kraakman, 2000. "The End Of History For Corporate Law," Yale School of Management Working Papers ysm136, Yale School of Management, revised 01 Feb 2001.
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