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Do U.S. Firms Have the Best Corporate Governance? A Cross-Country Examination of the Relation between Corporate Governance and Shareholder Wealth

Author

Listed:
  • Aggarwal, Reena

    (Georgetown U)

  • Erel, Isil

    (Ohio State U)

  • Stulz, Rene M.

    (Ohio State U)

  • Williamson, Rohan

    (Georgetown U)

Abstract

We compare the governance of foreign firms to the governance of similar U.S. firms. Using an index of firm governance attributes, we find that, on average, foreign firms have worse governance than matching U.S. firms. Roughly 8% of foreign firms have better governance than comparable U.S. firms. The majority of these firms are either in the U.K. or in Canada. When we define a firm's governance gap as the difference between the quality of its governance and the governance of a comparable U.S. firm, we find that the value of foreign firms increases with the governance gap. This result suggests that firms are rewarded by the markets for having better governance than their U.S. peers. It is therefore not the case that foreign firms are better off simply mimicking the governance of comparable U.S. firms. Among the individual governance attributes considered, we find that firms with board and audit committee independence are valued more. In contrast, other attributes, such as the separation of the chairman of the board and of the CEO functions, do not appear to be associated with higher shareholder wealth.

Suggested Citation

  • Aggarwal, Reena & Erel, Isil & Stulz, Rene M. & Williamson, Rohan, 2006. "Do U.S. Firms Have the Best Corporate Governance? A Cross-Country Examination of the Relation between Corporate Governance and Shareholder Wealth," Working Paper Series 2006-25, Ohio State University, Charles A. Dice Center for Research in Financial Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:ecl:ohidic:2006-25
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Bell, R. Greg & Moore, Curt B. & Filatotchev, Igor, 2012. "Strategic and institutional effects on foreign IPO performance: Examining the impact of country of origin, corporate governance, and host country effects," Journal of Business Venturing, Elsevier, vol. 27(2), pages 197-216.
    2. Guedhami, Omrane & Pittman, Jeffrey A. & Saffar, Walid, 2009. "Auditor choice in privatized firms: Empirical evidence on the role of state and foreign owners," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 48(2-3), pages 151-171, December.
    3. Chhaochharia, Vidhi & Laeven, Luc, 2007. "The Invisible Hand in Corporate Governance," CEPR Discussion Papers 6256, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    4. Filip, Andrei & Raffournier, Bernard, 2014. "Financial Crisis And Earnings Management: The European Evidence," The International Journal of Accounting, Elsevier, vol. 49(4), pages 455-478.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • G30 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - General
    • G32 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Financing Policy; Financial Risk and Risk Management; Capital and Ownership Structure; Value of Firms; Goodwill
    • G34 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Mergers; Acquisitions; Restructuring; Corporate Governance
    • G38 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Government Policy and Regulation
    • K22 - Law and Economics - - Regulation and Business Law - - - Business and Securities Law

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