Corporate Governance, Executive Compensation and Securities Litigation
It is generally accepted that good corporate governance, executive compensation and the threat of litigation are all important mechanisms for incentivizing managers of public corporations. While there are significant and robust literatures analyzing each of these policy instruments in isolation, their mutual relationship and interaction has received somewhat less attention. Such neglect is mildly surprising in light of a strong intuition that the three devices are structurally related to one another (either as complements or substitutes). In this paper, we construct an agency cost model of the firm in which corporate governance protections, executive compensation levels, and litigation incentives are all endogenously determined. We then test the predictions of the model using a firm-level data set including governance, executive compensation, and securities litigation variables. Consistent with our predictions, we find governance and compensation to be structural substitutes with one another, so that more protective governance structures tend to coincide with lower-powered incentives in executive contracts. Also consistent with our predictions, we find executive compensation and shareholder litigation appear to be structural complements to one another, so that higher powered incentives tend to catalyze more frequent litigation. In fact, we estimate that each 1% increase in the incentive component of a CEO's contract predicts 0.3% increase in the likelihood of a securities class action and a $3.4 million dollar increase in expected settlement costs. In addition, the complementarity of executive compensation and litigation allows us to formulate new ways to test for the effects of legal reform, such as the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. The results of our preliminary tests appear inconsistent with the claims of the statute's proponents that the PSLRA systematically discouraged non-meritorious litigation without burdening meritorious claims, particularly for firms with relatively low volatility.
|Date of creation:|
|Date of revision:|
|Contact details of provider:|| Web page: http://lawweb.usc.edu/|
References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Bernardo, Antonio E & Talley, Eric & Welch, Ivo, 2000.
"A Theory of Legal Presumptions,"
Journal of Law, Economics and Organization,
Oxford University Press, vol. 16(1), pages 1-49, April.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:bep:usclwp:usclwps-1002. 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: (Christopher F. Baum)
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 references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.
If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link 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 profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.
Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.