The Wall Street Walk when Blockholders Compete for Flows
Publicly traded corporations are a¤ected by a core agency problem: managers pay the full cost of e¤ort in running the corporations but shareholders enjoy most of the bene?ts. When ownership is dispersed individual shareholders have little incentive to monitor managers and little ability to in?uence them. Holders of equity blocks (?blockholders?) are a natural solu- tion to this problem. Because they own many shares they have both the incentive to monitor and the ability to in?uence management. Several well-known papers (e.g. Grossman and Hart (1980), Shleifer and Vishny (1986), Admati, P?eiderer, and Zechner (1994) and Kahn and Winton (1998)) have shown that blockholders can increase ?rm value through monitoring and activism. Activism can take the form of bringing forth shareholder proposals, proxy voting against management, informal negotiations with management, jawboning etc. These activities are collectively referred to as the use of ?voice?by blockholders.
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