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Corporate Boards of Directors: In Principle and in Practice

  • Oliver E. Williamson

Numerous significant past and recent contributions to the literature on the efficacy of corporate boards of directors notwithstanding, a consensus has yet to develop. Partly this is due to a failure to agree on the ground rules, to which the use of different lenses through which to observe and interpret corporate boards is a contributing factor. This article examines corporate boards through the lens of contract/governance with the object of (1) uncovering the factors that are responsible for the intrinsic limitations of boards in monitoring and managing respects and, in consideration of these limitations, (2) advising on the merits of proposed reforms, to which credibility considerations and the integrity of delegation are relevant. A more accepting interpretation of practices regarded by many as problematic emerges, but not without qualifications and express concern for bad actors. ( JEL G30, G34, K22, L14) The Author 2007. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Yale University. All rights reserved. For permissions, please email: journals.permissions@oxfordjournals.org, Oxford University Press.

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File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1093/jleo/ewm059
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Article provided by Oxford University Press in its journal The Journal of Law, Economics, & Organization.

Volume (Year): 24 (2008)
Issue (Month): 2 (October)
Pages: 247-272

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Handle: RePEc:oup:jleorg:v:24:y:2008:i:2:p:247-272
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