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Corporate Governance Objectives of Labor Union Shareholders: Evidence from Proxy Voting


  • Ashwini K. Agrawal


Labor union pension funds have become increasingly vocal in governance matters; however, their motives are subject to fierce debate. I examine the proxy votes of AFL-CIO union funds around an exogenous change in the union representation of workers across firms. AFL-CIO-affiliated shareholders become significantly less opposed to directors once the AFL-CIO labor organization no longer represents a firm's workers. Other institutional investors, including mutual funds and public pension funds, do not exhibit similar voting behavior. Union opposition is also associated with negative valuation effects. The data suggest that some investors pursue worker interests, rather than maximize shareholder value alone. The Author 2011. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of The Society for Financial Studies. All rights reserved. For Permissions, please e-mail:, Oxford University Press.

Suggested Citation

  • Ashwini K. Agrawal, 2012. "Corporate Governance Objectives of Labor Union Shareholders: Evidence from Proxy Voting," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 25(1), pages 187-226.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:rfinst:v:25:y:2012:i:1:p:187-226

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    Cited by:

    1. John, Kose & Knyazeva, Anzhela & Knyazeva, Diana, 2015. "Employee rights and acquisitions," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 118(1), pages 49-69.
    2. Bar-Isaac, Heski & Shapiro, Joel, 2017. "Blockholder Voting," CEPR Discussion Papers 11933, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    3. Xavier Aleksander Andonov & Xavier Yael V. Hochberg & Joshua D. Rauh, 2016. "Pension Fund Board Composition and Investment Performance: Evidence from Private Equity," Economics Working Papers 16104, Hoover Institution, Stanford University.
    4. Becht, Marco & Franks, Julian R & Grant, Jeremy & Wagner, Hannes, 2015. "The Returns to Hedge Fund Activism: An International Study," CEPR Discussion Papers 10507, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    5. Hutchinson, Marion & Seamer, Michael & Chapple, Larelle (Ellie), 2015. "Institutional Investors, Risk/Performance and Corporate Governance," The International Journal of Accounting, Elsevier, vol. 50(1), pages 31-52.
    6. Kraft, Kornelius, 2017. "Productivity and distribution effects of codetermination in an efficient bargaining," ZEW Discussion Papers 17-039, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
    7. Shrikant Krupasindhu Panigrahi & Yuserrie Zainuddin & Azzlina Azizan, 2014. "Comparing Traditional and Economic Performance Measures for Creating Shareholder’s Value: a Perspective from Malaysia," International Journal of Academic Research in Accounting, Finance and Management Sciences, Human Resource Management Academic Research Society, International Journal of Academic Research in Accounting, Finance and Management Sciences, vol. 4(4), pages 280-289, October.
    8. Prevost, Andrew K. & Wongchoti, Udomsak & Marshall, Ben R., 2016. "Does institutional shareholder activism stimulate corporate information flow?," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 70(C), pages 105-117.
    9. repec:bla:stratm:v:38:y:2017:i:2:p:415-435 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. Zhenxu Tong, 2015. "Labor Unions and Forms of Corporate Liquidity," Journal of Business Finance & Accounting, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 42(7-8), pages 1007-1039, September.
    11. Edmans, Alex & Holderness, Clifford, 2016. "Blockholders: A Survey of Theory and Evidence," CEPR Discussion Papers 11442, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    12. Ross Levine & Chen Lin & Beibei Shen, 2015. "Cross-border Acquisitions and Labor Regulations," NBER Working Papers 21245, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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