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The Market for Corporate Law

  • Oren Bar-Gill
  • Michal Barzuza
  • Lucian Bebchuk

This paper develops a model of the competition among states in providing corporate law rules. The analysis provides a full characterization of the equilibrium in this market. Competition among states is shown to produce optimal rules with respect to issues that do not have a substantial effect on managers' private benefits but not with respect to issues (such as takeover regulation) that substantially affect these private benefits. We analyze why a Dominant state such as Delaware can emerge, the prices that the dominant state will set and the profits it will make. We also analyze the roles played by legal infrastructure, network externalities, and the rules governing incorporations. The results of the model are consistent with, and can explain, existing empirical evidence; they also indicate that the performance of state competition cannot be evaluated on the basis of how incorporation in Delaware in the prevailing market equilibrium affects shareholder wealth.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 9156.

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Date of creation: Sep 2002
Date of revision:
Publication status: published as Oren Bar-Gill & Michal Barzuza & Lucian Bebchuk, 2006. "The Market for Corporate Law," Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics (JITE), Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 162(1), pages 134-160, March.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:9156
Note: CF LE
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  1. Sendhil Mullainathan & Marianne Bertrand, 1998. "Is there Discretion in Wage Setting? A Test Using Takeover Legislation," Working papers 98-19, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  2. Lucian Bebchuk & Alma Cohen, 2002. "Firms' Decisions Where to Incorporate," NBER Working Papers 9107, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Karpoff, Jonathan M. & Malatesta, Paul H., 1989. "The wealth effects of second-generation state takeover legislation," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 25(2), pages 291-322, December.
  4. Marianne Bertrand & Sendhil Mullainathan, 1998. "Executive Compensation and Incentives: The Impact of Takeover Legislation," NBER Working Papers 6830, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Roberta Romano, 1998. "Empowering Investors: A Market Approach to Securities Regulation," Yale School of Management Working Papers ysm74, Yale School of Management.
  6. Lucian Bebchuk & Oliver Hart, 2001. "Takeover bids vs. Proxy Fights in Contests for Corporate Control," NBER Working Papers 8633, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Lucian Arye Bebchuk & Allen Ferrell, 2001. "A New Approach to Takeover Law and Regulatory Competition," NBER Working Papers 8148, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Lucian Arye Bebchuk & Allen Ferrell, 2000. "Federalism and Takeover Law: The Race to Protect Managers from Takeovers," NBER Working Papers 7232, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Daines, Robert, 2001. "Does Delaware law improve firm value?," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 62(3), pages 525-558, December.
  10. Roberta Romano & Sanjai Bhagat, 2001. "Event Studies and the Law: Part II - Empirical Studies of Corporate Law," Yale School of Management Working Papers ysm183, Yale School of Management.
  11. Lucian Bebchuk & Alma Cohen & Allen Ferrell, 2002. "Does the Evidence Favor State Competition in Corporate Law?," NBER Working Papers 9380, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Romano, Roberta, 1985. "Law as a Product: Some Pieces of the Incorporation Puzzle," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 1(2), pages 225-83, Fall.
  13. Bebchuk, Lucian Arye & Cohen, Alma, 2002. "Firms' Decisions on Where to Incorporate," CEPR Discussion Papers 3514, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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