We develop a theory of how the intersection of business goals and the pursuit of ?higher purpose?? something that produces a non-pecuniary social benefit valued by the principal and the agent ? affects economic outcomes. Two types of principals ? those pursuing only wealth maximization and those pursuing both wealth and a higher purpose ? are considered.
These are typically viewed as competing approaches to running organizations. However, the theory we develop, which shows that the pursuit of higher-purpose projects reduces labor costs and increases capital investments, highlights a potential complementarity between the principals pursuing a higher purpose and those exclusively pursuing wealth. The complementarity arises because the pursuit of higher-purpose projects by others can relax budget constraints for wealth-maximizing principals, and the presence of purely-wealth maximizing principals may be essential for the higher-purpose-pursuing principals to obtain external financing. The absence of either type of principal may lead to a market breakdown involving no projects being undertaken.
Preemptive rights are thought to protect minority shareholders from cheap-stock tunneling by a controlling shareholder. We show that preemptive rights, while making cheap-stock tunneling more difficult, cannot prevent it when asymmetric...Read more
A set of policy experiments regarding binding say-on-pay in Switzerland sheds light on the hitherto mostly theoretical argument that shareholders may prefer to have limits on their own power. The empirical evidence suggests a trade-off: Binding...Read more
Despite the increasing importance of shareholder voting, regulators have paid little attention to the rights of retail investors who own approximately 30% of publicly traded companies but who vote less than 30% of their shares. A substantial...Read more
Union and public pension funds, the most prolific institutional activists employing low-cost targeting methods, are often accused of pursuing private benefits. Extant literature finds that unions representing workers, as stakeholders, are not...Read more