IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/eee/jfinec/v108y2013i2p349-366.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

What do boards really do? Evidence from minutes of board meetings☆☆Miriam Schwartz-Ziv is from Harvard University and Northeastern University, e-mail: miriam.schwartz@mail.huji.ac.il. Michael S. Weisbach is from Ohio State University, NBER, and SIFR, e-mail: weisbach@fisher.osu.edu. Miriam Schwartz-Ziv is very grateful to Eugene Kandel and Michael Weisbach, the co-advisors of her Hebrew University doctoral dissertation, upon which this paper is based. We thank the executive and non-executive employees of the Government Companies Authority of Israel who allowed us both formally and practically to conduct this research; the companies studied that kindly provided us with private and sensitive data; and seminar participants at Babson University, Brown University, Northeastern University, Ohio State University, Purdue University, the European Financial Management Association 2011 conference, the Western Economic Association 2012 conference, and the Financial Management Association 2012 conference, as well as the following people who shared their thoughts and advice at different stages of the preparation of this paper: Renée Adams, Amir Barnea, Steven Davidoff, Ada Demb, Dave Denis, Alon Eizenberg, Isil Erel, Rudi Fahlenbrach, Julian Franks, Ann Gillette, Ilan Guttman, Assaf Hamdani, Randal Heron, E. Han Kim, Stephanie Kramer, Saul Lach, Alexander Ljungqvist, Udi Nisan, Nadya Malenko, Avri Ravid, Artur Raviv, Karen Selody, Daniel Schwartz, Schraga Schwartz, Eytan Sheshinski, Léa Stern, Yuhai Xuan, Jun Yang, Scott Yonker, Tammar Zilber, and Clifford Smith, the referee, Miriam Schwartz-Ziv also thanks the Israeli Ministry of Science and Technology and Hebrew University's School of Business Administration for financial support

Author

Listed:
  • Schwartz-Ziv, Miriam
  • Weisbach, Michael S.

Abstract

We analyze a unique database from a sample of real-world boardrooms — minutes of board meetings and board-committee meetings of eleven business companies for which the Israeli government holds a substantial equity interest. We use these data to evaluate the underlying assumptions and predictions of models of boards of directors. These models generally fall into two categories: “managerial models” that assume boards play a direct role in managing the firm, and “supervisory models” that assume that boards monitor top management but do not make business decisions themselves. Consistent with the supervisory models, our minutes-based data suggest that boards spend most of their time monitoring management: approximately two-thirds of the issues boards discussed were of a supervisory nature, they were presented with only a single option in 99% of the issues discussed, and they disagreed with the CEO only 2.5% of the time. Nevertheless, at times boards do play a managerial role: Boards requested to receive further information or an update for 8% of the issues discussed, and they took an initiative with respect to 8.1% of them. In 63% of the meetings, boards took at least one of these actions or did not vote in line with the CEO. Taken together our results suggest that boards can be characterized as active monitors.

Suggested Citation

  • Schwartz-Ziv, Miriam & Weisbach, Michael S., 2013. "What do boards really do? Evidence from minutes of board meetings☆☆Miriam Schwartz-Ziv is from Harvard University and Northeastern University, e-mail: miriam.schwartz@mail.huji.ac.il. Michael S. Weisb," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 108(2), pages 349-366.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jfinec:v:108:y:2013:i:2:p:349-366
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jfineco.2012.04.011
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0304405X12002218
    Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

    File URL: https://libkey.io/10.1016/j.jfineco.2012.04.011?utm_source=ideas
    LibKey link: if access is restricted and if your library uses this service, LibKey will redirect you to where you can use your library subscription to access this item
    ---><---

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Silvia Dominguez‐Martinez & Otto H. Swank & Bauke Visser, 2008. "In Defense of Boards," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 17(3), pages 667-682, September.
    2. 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.
    3. Kenneth R. Ahern & Amy K. Dittmar, 2012. "The Changing of the Boards: The Impact on Firm Valuation of Mandated Female Board Representation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 127(1), pages 137-197.
    4. Renee B. Adams & Benjamin E. Hermalin & Michael S. Weisbach, 2010. "The Role of Boards of Directors in Corporate Governance: A Conceptual Framework and Survey," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 48(1), pages 58-107, March.
    5. Winfried Ruigrok & Simon Peck & Sabina Tacheva, 2007. "Nationality and Gender Diversity on Swiss Corporate Boards," Corporate Governance: An International Review, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 15(4), pages 546-557, July.
    6. Milton Harris & Artur Raviv, 2008. "A Theory of Board Control and Size," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 21(4), pages 1797-1832, July.
    7. Shivdasani, Anil, 1993. "Board composition, ownership structure, and hostile takeovers," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 16(1-3), pages 167-198, April.
    8. Volker Laux, 2008. "Board Independence and CEO Turnover," Journal of Accounting Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 46(1), pages 137-171, March.
    9. Nina Baranchuk & Philip H. Dybvig, 2009. "Consensus in Diverse Corporate Boards," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 22(2), pages 715-747, February.
    10. Andres Almazan & Javier Suarez, 2003. "Entrenchment and Severance Pay in Optimal Governance Structures," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 58(2), pages 519-548, April.
    11. Renée B. Adams & Daniel Ferreira, 2007. "A Theory of Friendly Boards," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 62(1), pages 217-250, February.
    12. Lucian A. Taylor, 2010. "Why Are CEOs Rarely Fired? Evidence from Structural Estimation," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 65(6), pages 2051-2087, December.
    13. Fenghua Song & Anjan V. Thakor, 2006. "Information Control, Career Concerns, and Corporate Governance," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 61(4), pages 1845-1896, August.
    14. Nadya Malenko, 2014. "Communication and Decision-Making in Corporate Boards," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 27(5), pages 1486-1532.
    15. Craig Peterson & James Philpot, 2007. "Women’s Roles on U.S. Fortune 500 Boards: Director Expertise and Committee Memberships," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 72(2), pages 177-196, May.
    16. Benjamin E. Hermalin, 2005. "Trends in Corporate Governance," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 60(5), pages 2351-2384, October.
    17. Hermalin, Benjamin E & Weisbach, Michael S, 1998. "Endogenously Chosen Boards of Directors and Their Monitoring of the CEO," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(1), pages 96-118, March.
    18. Raheja, Charu G., 2005. "Determinants of Board Size and Composition: A Theory of Corporate Boards," Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, Cambridge University Press, vol. 40(2), pages 283-306, June.
    19. 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, vol. 9(Apr), pages 7-26.
    20. Brickley, James A. & Coles, Jeffrey L. & Terry, Rory L., 1994. "Outside directors and the adoption of poison pills," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 35(3), pages 371-390, June.
    21. Clara Graziano & Annalisa Luporini, 2003. "Board Efficiency and Internal Corporate Control Mechanisms," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 12(4), pages 495-530, December.
    22. Huson, Mark R. & Malatesta, Paul H. & Parrino, Robert, 2004. "Managerial succession and firm performance," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 74(2), pages 237-275, November.
    23. Weisbach, Michael S., 1988. "Outside directors and CEO turnover," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 20(1-2), pages 431-460, January.
    24. Warther, Vincent A., 1998. "Board effectiveness and board dissent: A model of the board's relationship to management and shareholders," Journal of Corporate Finance, Elsevier, vol. 4(1), pages 53-70, March.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Robert Bloomfield & Mark W. Nelson & Eugene Soltes, 2016. "Gathering Data for Archival, Field, Survey, and Experimental Accounting Research," Journal of Accounting Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 54(2), pages 341-395, May.

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Miriam Schwartz-Ziv & Michael Weisbach, 2011. "What do Boards Really Do? Evidence from Minutes of Board Meetings," NBER Working Papers 17509, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Thomas J. Chemmanur & Viktar Fedaseyeu, 2018. "A Theory of Corporate Boards and Forced CEO Turnover," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 64(10), pages 4798-4817, October.
    3. Isaka, Naoto, 2017. "When are uninformed boards preferable?," Pacific-Basin Finance Journal, Elsevier, vol. 46(PA), pages 191-211.
    4. Renee B. Adams & Benjamin E. Hermalin & Michael S. Weisbach, 2010. "The Role of Boards of Directors in Corporate Governance: A Conceptual Framework and Survey," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 48(1), pages 58-107, March.
    5. Dahya, Jay & Golubov, Andrey & Petmezas, Dimitris & Travlos, Nickolaos G., 2019. "Governance mandates, outside directors, and acquirer performance," Journal of Corporate Finance, Elsevier, vol. 59(C), pages 218-238.
    6. Clara Graziano & Annalisa Luporini, 2010. "Optimal Delegation when the Large Shareholder has Multiple Tasks," CESifo Working Paper Series 3028, CESifo.
    7. Donaldson, Jason Roderick & Malenko, Nadya & Piacentino, Giorgia, 2017. "Deadlock on the Board," CEPR Discussion Papers 12503, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    8. Caleb Stroup, 2017. "International Deal Experience And Cross-Border Acquisitions," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 55(1), pages 73-97, January.
    9. Naeem Tabassum & Satwinder Singh, 2020. "Corporate Governance and Organisational Performance," Springer Books, Springer, number 978-3-030-48527-6, October.
    10. Jiao Ji & Oleksandr Talavera & Shuxing Yin, 2020. "Frequencies of board meetings on various topics and corporate governance: evidence from China," Review of Quantitative Finance and Accounting, Springer, vol. 54(1), pages 69-110, January.
    11. Easterwood, John C. & İnce, Özgür Ş. & Raheja, Charu G., 2012. "The evolution of boards and CEOs following performance declines," Journal of Corporate Finance, Elsevier, vol. 18(4), pages 727-744.
    12. Berger, Allen N. & Kick, Thomas & Schaeck, Klaus, 2014. "Executive board composition and bank risk taking," Journal of Corporate Finance, Elsevier, vol. 28(C), pages 48-65.
    13. Franco Ernesto Rubino & Paolo Tenuta & Domenico Rocco Cambrea, 2017. "Board characteristics effects on performance in family and non-family business: a multi-theoretical approach," Journal of Management & Governance, Springer;Accademia Italiana di Economia Aziendale (AIDEA), vol. 21(3), pages 623-658, September.
    14. Henrique Castro Martins & Cristiano Machado Costa, 2020. "Does control concentration affect board busyness? International evidence," Journal of Management & Governance, Springer;Accademia Italiana di Economia Aziendale (AIDEA), vol. 24(3), pages 821-850, September.
    15. Masulis, Ronald & Ruzzier, Christian & Xiao, Sheng & Zhao, Shan, 2012. "Do Independent Expert Directors Matter?," MPRA Paper 68200, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    16. Nguyen, Bang Dang & Nielsen, Kasper Meisner, 2010. "The value of independent directors: Evidence from sudden deaths," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 98(3), pages 550-567, December.
    17. Ahsan Habib & Md. Borhan Uddin Bhuiyan & Mostafa Monzur Hasan, 2018. "Firm life cycle and advisory directors," Australian Journal of Management, Australian School of Business, vol. 43(4), pages 575-592, November.
    18. Catarina Fernandes & Jorge Farinha & Francisco Vitorino Martins & Cesario Mateus, 2018. "Bank governance and performance: a survey of the literature," Journal of Banking Regulation, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 19(3), pages 236-256, July.
    19. Singh, Ravi & Ruiz-Verdú, Pablo, 2014. "Board Independence, CEO Pay, and Camouflaged Compensation," DEE - Working Papers. Business Economics. WB wb140704, Universidad Carlos III de Madrid. Departamento de Economía de la Empresa.
    20. Lin, Zhijun & Song, Byron Y. & Tian, Zhimin, 2016. "Does director-level reputation matter? Evidence from bank loan contracting," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 70(C), pages 160-176.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Boards of directors; Board minutes; Corporate governance; Supervisory models; Managerial models;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • G30 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - General
    • L20 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - General

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:jfinec:v:108:y:2013:i:2:p:349-366. 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: . General contact details of provider: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/505576 .

    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 CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc 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 RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: Catherine Liu (email available below). General contact details of provider: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/505576 .

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

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.