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Explaining the shape of corporate law: the role of competition


  • William J. Carney

    (Emory University, School of Law, Gambrell Hall, 1301 Clifton Road, N.E., Atlanta, Georgia 30322-2770, USA)


This paper reviews the effects of competition among jurisdictions for corporate chartering business on the shape of corporate law in the USA. It finds that competition has led to substantial uniformity, tempered by a dynamic process that introduces innovations from multiple jurisdictions. The speed with which changes are adopted depends on the identity of the sponsoring interest group. Corporate lawyers play a major role in the US corporate law production, but are hampered by collective action problems that are somewhat ameliorated by sponsorship of model legislation by the American Bar Association. Corporate managers appear to be the most effective sponsors, because changes they sponsor are adopted at a more rapid rate. The paper concludes that this competition for charters, influenced both by efficient capital markets and a desire to retain local chartering business, tends to compete away special interest benefits in corporate law. A comparison of the shape of corporate laws in Europe, where no competition exists, with US laws shows that groups such as management, labor and creditors have obtained significantly more benefits than in the USA. © 1997 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Suggested Citation

  • William J. Carney, 1997. "Explaining the shape of corporate law: the role of competition," Managerial and Decision Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 18(7-8), pages 611-626.
  • Handle: RePEc:wly:mgtdec:v:18:y:1997:i:7-8:p:611-626
    DOI: 10.1002/(SICI)1099-1468(199711/12)18:7/8<611::AID-MDE854>3.0.CO;2-F

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    Cited by:

    1. repec:eee:jcecon:v:45:y:2017:i:4:p:751-772 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Lars P. Feld, 2006. "Regulatory Competition and Federalism in Switzerland: Diffusion by Horizontal and Vertical Interaction," CREMA Working Paper Series 2006-22, Center for Research in Economics, Management and the Arts (CREMA).

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