This chapter continues our examination of the corporate law and governance implications of the fundamental shift in ownership structure of U.S. public corporations from the Berle-Means pattern of widely distributed shareholders to one of Agency Capitalism ? the re-concentration of ownership in intermediary institutional investors as record holders for their beneficial owners.
A Berle-Means ownership distribution provided the foundation for the agency cost orientation of modern corporate law and governance ? the goal was to bridge the gap between the interests of managers and shareholders that dispersed shareholders could not do for themselves. The equity intermediation of the last 30 years gives us Agency Capitalism, characterized by sophisticated but reticent institutional shareholders who require market actors to invoke their sophistication. We examine here three implications of this shift in ownership distribution. The first addresses a proposal to
turn back the clock in the regulation of ownership disclosure under the Williams Act to a time when shareholders were small and dispersed rather than large and concentrated as they are today. The next two share a common theme: that the allocation of responsibility between directors, shareholders and courts can no longer be premised on a paternalism grounded in an anachronistic belief concerning the distribution and sophistication of shareholders. We show that the Chancery Court has recognized that Agency Capitalism counsels different rules concerning the roles of shareholders and the court in policing freezeouts. And we argue that the Supreme Court will come to realize what the Chancery Court has recognized for some time ? that the doctrine of substantive coercion as a basis for takeover defence must give way as Delaware corporate law adapts to the very different shareholder distribution the capital market has now given us.
In order to identify the relevant sources of firms' financing constraints, we ask what financial frictions matter for corporate policies. To that end, we build, solve, and estimate a range of dynamic models of corporate investment and financing,...Read more
Passively managed index funds now hold over 25% of U.S. mutual fund and ETF assets. The rise of index investing raises fundamental questions about monitoring and corporate governance. We examine the voice and exit mechanisms and find that...Read more
The last twenty years or so have seen a sharp decline in public equity. I present a framework that explains the forces that cause the listing propensity of firms to change over time. This framework highlights the benefits and costs of a public...Read more
In firms with multiple blockholders governance via exit is affected by how blockholders react to each others' exit. Institutional investors, who hold the majority of equity blocks, are heterogeneous in their incentives. How do these incentives...Read more