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Whistleblowers on the Board? The Role of Independent Directors in Cartel Prosecutions

Listed author(s):
  • Campello, Murillo
  • Ferrés, Daniel
  • Ormazabal, Gaizka
Registered author(s):

    Stock market reactions to news of cartel prosecutions are muted when indicted firms have a high proportion of independent directors on their boards. This finding is robust to self-selection and is pronounced when independent directors hold more outside directorships and fewer stock options -when those directors have fewer economic ties to indicted firms. Results are even stronger when independent directors' appointments were attributable to SOX, preceded their CEO's own appointment, or followed class action suits|when directors have fewer ties to indicted CEOs. Independent directors serving on indicted firms are penalized by losing board seats and vote support in other firms. Firms with more independent directors are more likely to cooperate with antitrust authorities through leniency programs. They are also more likely to dismiss scandal-laden CEOs after public indictments. Our results show that cartel prosecution imposes significant personal costs onto independent directors and that they take actions to mitigate those costs. We argue that understanding these incentive-compatible dynamics is key in designing strategies for cartel detection and prosecution.

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    Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 12143.

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    Date of creation: Jul 2017
    Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:12143
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    1. Suraj Srinivasan, 2005. "Consequences of Financial Reporting Failure for Outside Directors: Evidence from Accounting Restatements and Audit Committee Members," Journal of Accounting Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 43(2), pages 291-334, 05.
    2. Eliezer M. Fich & Anil Shivdasani, 2006. "Are Busy Boards Effective Monitors?," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 61(2), pages 689-724, 04.
    3. Agrawal, Anup & Jaffe, Jeffrey F & Karpoff, Jonathan M, 1999. "Management Turnover and Governance Changes following the Revelation of Fraud," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 42(1), pages 309-342, April.
    4. Brochet, Francois & Srinivasan, Suraj, 2014. "Accountability of independent directors: Evidence from firms subject to securities litigation," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 111(2), pages 430-449.
    5. Ferris, Stephen P. & Jandik, Tomas & Lawless, Robert M. & Makhija, Anil, 2007. "Derivative Lawsuits as a Corporate Governance Mechanism: Empirical Evidence on Board Changes Surrounding Filings," Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, Cambridge University Press, vol. 42(01), pages 143-165, March.
    6. B. Douglas Bernheim & Michael D. Whinston, 1990. "Multimarket Contact and Collusive Behavior," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 21(1), pages 1-26, Spring.
    7. Connor, John M. & Bolotova, Yuliya, 2006. "Cartel overcharges: Survey and meta-analysis," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 24(6), pages 1109-1137, November.
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