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Varieties of Governance


  • Ciaran Driver


The reform of corporate governance is again on the agenda in the wake of Enron and excessive risk-taking by financial institutions. However, the search for new and better forms of governance often seems to lack guiding principles. A theory of corporate governance ought to emerge from a theory of the firm. Yet, the literature shows how this project is both difficult and far from complete. In this paper we review how existing theory provides a variety of arguments favouring either a shareholder or a stakeholder orientation. These arguments may depend on whether the prime objective for governance is improved current performance or a more long-term focus for firms. A brief review of recent US governance reforms is given as a backdrop to discussing more far-reaching proposals that have emerged in the recent literature; a greater role for institutional investors on the one hand or a return to managerial capitalism on the other. JEL Codes – G30, G31, M14, D21, L2, L1.

Suggested Citation

  • Ciaran Driver, 2008. "Varieties of Governance," Recherches économiques de Louvain, De Boeck Université, vol. 74(4), pages 425-453.
  • Handle: RePEc:cai:reldbu:rel_744_0425

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Ciaran Driver & Grahame Thompson, 2002. "Corporate Governance and Democracy: The Stakeholder Debate Revisited," Journal of Management & Governance, Springer;Accademia Italiana di Economia Aziendale (AIDEA), vol. 6(2), pages 111-130, May.
    2. Klapper, Leora F. & Love, Inessa, 2004. "Corporate governance, investor protection, and performance in emerging markets," Journal of Corporate Finance, Elsevier, vol. 10(5), pages 703-728, November.
    3. Fama, Eugene F & Jensen, Michael C, 1983. "Separation of Ownership and Control," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 26(2), pages 301-325, June.
    4. Hart, Oliver, 1995. "Corporate Governance: Some Theory and Implications," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 105(430), pages 678-689, May.
    5. Shleifer, Andrei & Vishny, Robert W, 1997. " A Survey of Corporate Governance," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 52(2), pages 737-783, June.
    6. Bengt Holmstrom & Steven N. Kaplan, 2001. "Corporate Governance and Merger Activity in the United States: Making Sense of the 1980s and 1990s," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 15(2), pages 121-144, Spring.
    7. repec:hrv:faseco:30728046 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Martin Fransman, 2004. "The telecoms boom and bust 1996-2003 and the role of financial markets," Journal of Evolutionary Economics, Springer, vol. 14(4), pages 369-406, October.
    9. Franklin Allen, 2005. "Corporate Governance in Emerging Economies," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 21(2), pages 164-177, Summer.
    10. J. Krafft & J. -L. Ravix, 2008. "Corporate Governance And The Governance Of Knowledge: Rethinking The Relationship In Terms Of Corporate Coherence," Economics of Innovation and New Technology, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 17(1-2), pages 79-95.
    11. Jackie Krafft & Jacques-Laurent Ravix, 2005. "The governance of innovative firms: An evolutionary perspective," Economics of Innovation and New Technology, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 14(3), pages 125-147.
    12. Jensen, Michael C, 1986. "Agency Costs of Free Cash Flow, Corporate Finance, and Takeovers," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(2), pages 323-329, May.
    13. Marco Becht, 2005. "Corporate Governance: An Assessment," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 21(2), pages 155-163, Summer.
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    15. Benjamin E. Hermalin & Michael S. Weisbach, 2003. "Boards of directors as an endogenously determined institution: a survey of the economic literature," Economic Policy Review, Federal Reserve Bank of New York, issue Apr, pages 7-26.
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    17. 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.
    18. Michael Dietrich & Jackie Krafft & Jacques-Laurent Ravix, 2008. "Regulation and governance of the firm," Post-Print hal-00203479, HAL.
    19. John E. Core & Wayne R. Guay & Tjomme O. Rusticus, 2006. "Does Weak Governance Cause Weak Stock Returns? An Examination of Firm Operating Performance and Investors' Expectations," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 61(2), pages 655-687, April.
    20. Bernard S. Black & Hasung Jang & Woochan Kim, 2006. "Does Corporate Governance Predict Firms' Market Values? Evidence from Korea," Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 22(2), pages 366-413, October.
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    More about this item


    corporate; governance; shareholder; stakeholder; innovation;

    JEL classification:

    • G30 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - General
    • G31 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Capital Budgeting; Fixed Investment and Inventory Studies
    • M14 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Business Administration - - - Corporate Culture; Diversity; Social Responsibility
    • D21 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Firm Behavior: Theory
    • L2 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior
    • L1 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance


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