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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

  • Aggarwal, Reena

    (Georgetown U)

  • Erel, Isil

    (Ohio State U)

  • Stulz, Rene M.

    (Ohio State U)

  • Williamson, Rohan

    (Georgetown U)

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.

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Paper provided by Ohio State University, Charles A. Dice Center for Research in Financial Economics in its series Working Paper Series with number 2006-25.

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Date of creation: Dec 2006
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ecl:ohidic:2006-25
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  1. Doidge, Craig & Karolyi, G. Andrew & Stulz, Rene M., 2004. "Why Do Countries Matter So Much for Corporate Governance?," Working Paper Series 2004-16, Ohio State University, Charles A. Dice Center for Research in Financial Economics.
  2. Lopez-de-Silanes, Florencio & Djankov, Simeon & La Porta, Rafael & Shleifer, Andrei, 2008. "The Law and Economics of Self-dealing," Scholarly Articles 2907526, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  3. Lucian Bebchuk & Alma Cohen & Allen Ferrell, 2009. "What Matters in Corporate Governance?," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 22(2), pages 783-827, February.
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  9. Brown, Lawrence D. & Caylor, Marcus L., 2006. "Corporate governance and firm valuation," Journal of Accounting and Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 25(4), pages 409-434.
  10. Benjamin E. Hermalin & Michael S. Weisbach, 2001. "Boards of Directors as an Endogenously Determined Institution: A Survey of the Economic Literature," NBER Working Papers 8161, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Paul A. Gompers & Joy L. Ishii & Andrew Metrick, 2002. "Corporate Governance and Equity Prices," Center for Financial Institutions Working Papers 02-32, Wharton School Center for Financial Institutions, University of Pennsylvania.
  12. Denis Conniffe & Vanessa Gash & Philip J. O'Connell, 2000. "Evaluating State Programmes - “Natural Experiments” and Propensity Scores," The Economic and Social Review, Economic and Social Studies, vol. 31(4), pages 283-308.
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