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Thirty Years of Corporate Governance: Firm Valuation & Stock Returns

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  • Martijn Cremers
  • Allen Ferrell

Abstract

his paper introduces a dataset tracking approximately 1,000 firms’ G- and E-index scores, as well the individual corporate governance provisions constituting these indexes, over the 1978-1989 period. Combining this data with the 1990-2006 IRRC data, we are able to track firms’ corporate governance over a thirty year period. Most governance changes occurred during the 1980s (with relative stability thereafter). We find a robustly negative association between the G- and E-Index and Tobin’s Q for the 1978-2006 period, even when using firm fixed effects, and little direct evidence for reverse causation. The negative firm valuation effects of classified boards, poison pills and G-Index generally was significantly greater after the judicial approval of the poison pill in 1985, which can be considered as a largely unanticipated, exogenous shock to corporate governance. Moreover, G-Index changes have a much stronger negative association with firm valuation when a firm is in an industry experiencing “high†levels of M&A activity. Finally, we find a robust positive association between “good†corporate governance and abnormal returns for the 1978-2006 period. The abnormal returns association with governance was strongest in the beginning of our 1978-2006 time period and generally declining thereafter, consistent with an explanation of these returns based on the market learning the importance of good governance.

Suggested Citation

  • Martijn Cremers & Allen Ferrell, 2009. "Thirty Years of Corporate Governance: Firm Valuation & Stock Returns," Yale School of Management Working Papers amz2485, Yale School of Management, revised 08 Nov 2009.
  • Handle: RePEc:ysm:somwrk:amz2485
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    File URL: http://icfpub.som.yale.edu/publications/2485
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Bebchuk, Lucian A. & Cohen, Alma & Wang, Charles C.Y., 2013. "Learning and the disappearing association between governance and returns," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 108(2), pages 323-348.

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