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Do Some Outside Directors Play a Political Role?

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  • Agrawal, Anup
  • Knoeber, Charles R

Abstract

If outside directors with backgrounds in politics and in law play a political role, they will be more important on the boards of firms for which politics matters more. We conduct three tests. First, for a sample of manufacturing firms, we find that politically experienced directors are more prevalent in firms where sales to government, exports, and lobbying are greater; lawyer-directors are more prevalent in firms where costs of environmental regulation are higher; and both are more prevalent in larger firms. Second, for a sample of electric utilities during the 1990s, when the advent of retail competition made politics more important, we find increased incidence of politically experienced directors. Finally, we explore whether a governmental taste for diversity creates a political role for women directors. Although we document increased incidence of women directors over time, we find little evidence that women directors play a political role. Copyright 2001 by the University of Chicago.

Suggested Citation

  • Agrawal, Anup & Knoeber, Charles R, 2001. "Do Some Outside Directors Play a Political Role?," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 44(1), pages 179-198, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:ucp:jlawec:v:44:y:2001:i:1:p:179-98
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    File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1086/320271
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    1. 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.
    2. Brickley, James A & James, Christopher M, 1987. "The Takeover Market, Corporate Board Composition, and Ownership Structure: The Case of Banking," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 30(1), pages 161-180, April.
    3. Willard T. Carleton & James M. Nelson & Michael S. Weisbach, 1998. "The Influence of Institutions on Corporate Governance through Private Negotiations: Evidence from TIAA-CREF," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 53(4), pages 1335-1362, August.
    4. Song, Moon H. & Walkling, Ralph A., 1993. "The Impact of Managerial Ownership on Acquisition Attempts and Target Shareholder Wealth," Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, Cambridge University Press, vol. 28(04), pages 439-457, December.
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