Arbeitspapiere / Johann-Wolfgang-Goethe-Universität, Institut für Bankrecht
Taking shareholder protection seriously? : Corporate governance in the United States and Germany
Kenneth E. Scott
- The paper undertakes a comparative study of the set of laws affecting corporate governance in the United States and Germany, and an evaluation of their design if one assumes that their objective were the protection of the interests of minority outside shareholders. The rationale for such an objective is reviewed, in terms of agency cost theory, and then the institutions that serve to bound agency costs are examined and critiqued. In particular, there is discussion of the applicable legal rules in each country, the role of the board of directors, the functioning of the market for corporate control, and (briefly) the use of incentive compensation. The paper concludes with the authors views on what taking shareholder protection seriously, in each country s legal system, would require.
U.S. laws and regulations applicable to research reports
- This memorandum describes the approach of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (the "SEC") in monitoring and, where appropriate, regulating the use of research reports by investment banking firms in connection with securities transactions. The memorandum addresses the historical system of regulation, which continues in large measure to apply. It also examines the new initiatives taken, following a number of prominent corporate, accounting and banking scandals and a significant decline in U.S. and international capital markets, to supplement the current system in what some have dubbed the "post-Enron era".
Corporate governance and expected stock returns: evidence from Germany
- Recent empirical work shows that a better legal environment leads to lower expected rates of return in an international cross-section of countries. This paper investigates whether differences in firm-specific corporate governance also help to explain expected returns in a cross-section of firms within a single jurisdiction. Constructing a corporate governance rating (CGR) for German firms, we document a positive relationship between the CGR and firm value. In addition, there is strong evidence that expected returns are negatively correlated with the CGR, if dividend yields and price-earnings ratios are used as proxies for the cost of capital. Most results are robust for endogeneity, with causation running from corporate governance practices to firm fundamentals. Finally, an investment strategy that bought high-CGR firms and shorted low-CGR firms would have earned abnormal returns of around 12 percent on an annual basis during the sample period. We rationalize the empirical evidence with lower agency costs and/or the removal of certain governance malfunctions for the high-CGR firms.