Does Corporate Governance Predict Firms' Market Values? Evidence from Korea

Does Corporate Governance Predict Firms' Market Values? Evidence from Korea

Bernard Black, Hasung Jang, Woochan Kim

Series number :

Serial Number: 

Date posted :

May 01 2005

Last revised :

November 12 2018
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  • Korea • 
  • Corporate governance • 
  • corporate governance index • 
  • law and fi • 
  • nance • 
  • fi • 
  • rm valuation • 
  • board of directors • 
  • Emerging markets

We report strong OLS and instrumental variable evidence that an overall corporate governance index is an important and likely causal factor in explaining the market value of Korean public companies. We construct a corporate governance index (KCGI, 0~100) for 515 Korean companies based on a 2001 Korea Stock Exchange survey.

In OLS, a worst-to-best change in KCGI predicts a 0.47 increase in Tobin's q (about a 160% increase in share price). This effect is statistically strong (t = 6.12) and robust to choice of market value variable (Tobin's q, market/book, and market/sales), specification of the governance index, and inclusion of extensive control variables.

We rely on unique features of Korean legal rules to construct an instrument for KCGI. Good instruments are not available in other comparable studies. Two-stage and three-stage least squares coefficients are larger than OLS coefficients and are highly significant. Thus, this paper offers evidence consistent with a causal relationship between an overall governance index and higher share prices in emerging markets.

We also find that Korean firms with 50% outside directors have 0.13 higher Tobin's q (roughly 40% higher share price), after controlling for the rest of KCGI. This effect, too, is likely causal. Thus, we report the first evidence consistent with greater board independence causally predicting higher share prices in emerging markets.

Post-publication version. This version accompanies a replication dataset and replication statistical code (in Stata). In the course of replication, we found several instances where we could not fully replicate the published version; these are noted below. Changes from the original are marked. These instances do not affect the core results of the paper. Most affect t-statistics, rather than coefficients, in most of these instances, the t-statistics are higher than originally reported.


Published in

Published in: 
Publication Title: 
Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization
Vol. 22, No. 2, Fall 2006


Fellow, Research Member
Northwestern University Law School and Kellogg School of Management Law School