Posts Tagged ‘Social capital’

Human Capital, Management Quality, and Firm Performance

Posted by R. Christopher Small, Co-editor, HLS Forum on Corporate Governance and Financial Regulation, on Thursday July 31, 2014 at 9:03 am
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Editor’s Note: The following post comes to us from Thomas Chemmanur and Lei Kong, both of the Department of Finance at Boston College, and Karthik Krishnan of the Finance Group at Northeastern University.

The quality of the top management team of a firm is an important determinant of its performance. This is an obvious statement to many. Yet, there is little evidence that relates top management team quality to firm performance in a causal manner. Part of the challenge in doing so stems from assigning a measure to the quality of the top management team. There are, after all, various aspects of top managers that contribute to their performance, including their education, their connections and prior experience. Another reason that relating management quality to firm performance is hard is that one can argue that the best managers can simply select into the best firms to work in. This makes making causal statements extremely hard in this context. As a result, while one can point toward anecdotal evidence relating good managers to good performance (e.g., Steve Jobs of Apple), systematic evidence is lacking in the academic literature on this issue. The relation between management quality and firm performance is important in more than just an academic context. For instance, analysts frequently cite top management quality as a reason to invest in a stock. Thus, one needs to ask what they mean by “quality,” and does it really impact the future performance of the firm.

…continue reading: Human Capital, Management Quality, and Firm Performance

Incentives and Ideology

Posted by June Rhee, Co-editor, HLS Forum on Corporate Governance and Financial Regulation, on Monday June 23, 2014 at 9:09 am
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Editor’s Note: The following post comes to us from James Kwak at University of Connecticut School of Law.

The financial crisis that began in 2007 prompted a tidal wave of thinking about financial regulation. One major theme that has been pursued by the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission, journalists, and scholars—most recently in Other People’s Houses, by Jennifer Taub—is the question of what went wrong in the years or decades leading up the crisis. A second strand of research answers the question of what substantive regulations we should have; one important book in this genre is The Banker’s New Clothes, by Anat Admati and Martin Hellwig. But beyond the issue of what regulations are appropriate for today’s complex financial system, a third important area of inquiry is the political and administrative landscape in which financial regulations (whether statutes, rules, administrative guidances, or court opinions) are hammered out. After all, if it were somehow possible to design a perfect regulatory framework, it could only become effective by navigating through the complicated web of interests and incentives that encompasses the legislative and executive (and perhaps judicial) branches.

…continue reading: Incentives and Ideology

The Ownership of Japanese Corporations in the 20th Century

Posted by R. Christopher Small, Co-editor, HLS Forum on Corporate Governance and Financial Regulation, on Wednesday June 4, 2014 at 9:22 am
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Editor’s Note: The following post comes to us from Julian Franks, Professor of Finance at London Business School; Colin Mayer, Professor of Management Studies at Saïd Business School, University of Oxford; and Hideaki Miyajima, Professor of Commerce at Waseda University.

The Japanese insider ownership system began to fall apart approximately twenty years after it came into operation at the beginning of the 1970s. In our paper, The Ownership of Japanese Corporations in the 20th Century, which was recently made publicly available on SSRN, we suggest that the insider system emerged in the first place because the alternative institutions for promoting outside ownership failed. The problem was not with the legal framework, which was relatively strong in Japan. Instead, the failure was due to the absence of institutional reputational capital in equity markets equivalent to that embedded in the business coordinators and zaibatsu earlier in the century. The first point that this brings out is that the destruction of institutions, such as zaibatsu, can be serious in terms of economic performance. The second point is that the creation of new institutions of trust to replace previous institutions is complex and not readily achieved by design.

…continue reading: The Ownership of Japanese Corporations in the 20th Century

Span of Control and Span of Attention

Posted by R. Christopher Small, Co-editor, HLS Forum on Corporate Governance and Financial Regulation, on Tuesday April 29, 2014 at 9:15 am
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Editor’s Note: The following post comes to us from Oriana Bandiera, Professor of Economics at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE); Andrea Prat, Professor of Economics at Columbia Business School; and Raffaella Sadun and Julie Wulf, both of the Strategy Unit at Harvard Business School.

In our paper, Span of Control and Span of Attention, which was recently made publicly available on SSRN, we use novel data to better understand the role of the CEO and the relationship to the executive team as represented by the CEO’s span of control. We collect detailed time use information for a large sample of CEOs and use it to characterize how CEOs allocate their time. We compare how this new and more comprehensive measure—span of attention—is related to the more traditional notion of span of control.

…continue reading: Span of Control and Span of Attention

CEO Connectedness and Corporate Frauds

Posted by R. Christopher Small, Co-editor, HLS Forum on Corporate Governance and Financial Regulation, on Thursday January 23, 2014 at 9:13 am
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Editor’s Note: The following post comes to us from Vikramaditya Khanna, Professor of Law at the University of Michigan; E. Han Kim, Professor of Finance at the University of Michigan; and Yao Lu of the Department of Finance at Tsinghua University.

The collective behavior of corporate leaders is often critical in corporate wrongdoing, and the CEO often plays the central role. Yet there is no comprehensive study exploring how CEOs and their influence within executive suites and the boardroom impact corporate wrongdoing. In our paper, CEO Connectedness and Corporate Frauds, which was recently made publicly available on SSRN, we focus on the effects of CEOs’ social influence accumulated during the CEO’s tenure through top executive and director appointment decisions.

…continue reading: CEO Connectedness and Corporate Frauds

The Value of Local Political Connections in a Low-Corruption Environment

Posted by R. Christopher Small, Co-editor, HLS Forum on Corporate Governance and Financial Regulation, on Thursday August 29, 2013 at 9:18 am
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Editor’s Note: The following post comes to us from Mario Daniele Amore of the Department of Management and Technology at Bocconi University and Morten Bennedsen, Professor of Economics and Political Science at INSEAD.

Connections between firms and politicians are widespread around the world. Faccio (2006) documents the existence of publicly traded firms with national political connections in 35 of 45 countries; these firms account for nearly 8% of the world’s stock market capitalization. She also documents that national political connections are valuable, especially in countries with weak political institutions.

In our paper, The Value of Local Political Connections in a Low-Corruption Environment, forthcoming in the Journal of Financial Economics, we explore the value of local political connections in a low-corruption environment. We use an administrative reform that generates exogenous variations in the size of local municipalities in Denmark to establish the effect of changes in political power on the profitability of firms that have family ties with local politicians. On average, we find that (1) doubling the political power (as measured by population per elected politician) doubles the performance of politically connected firms, and (2) the effect is larger in industries delivering goods and services to the public sector.

…continue reading: The Value of Local Political Connections in a Low-Corruption Environment

IPOs and Innovation

Posted by R. Christopher Small, Co-editor, HLS Forum on Corporate Governance and Financial Regulation, on Wednesday August 15, 2012 at 10:33 am
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Editor’s Note: The following post comes to us from Shai Bernstein of the Department of Finance at Stanford University.

Corporate managers, bankers, and policy makers alike have expressed concerns that the recent dearth of initial public offerings (IPOs) has caused a breakdown in the engine of innovation and growth. In the paper, Does Going Public Affect Innovation?, which was recently made publicly available on SSRN, I explore whether the transition to public equity markets indeed affects innovation, and if so, how. Theoretically, the effect of IPOs on innovation is ambiguous. On the one hand, going public provides improved access to capital that may allow firms to enhance their innovative activities; on the other hand, market pressures and potential departure of employees following the IPO may lead to opposite results.

To answer this question, I use standard patent-based metrics to capture changes in innovative activity in the years around the IPO and focus on three important dimensions of firms’ innovative activity: internally generated innovation, the productivity and mobility choices of individual inventors, and the acquisition of external innovation.

…continue reading: IPOs and Innovation

Corporate Philanthropy as Signaling and Co-optation

Posted by Scott Hirst, co-editor, HLS Forum on Corporate Governance and Financial Regulation, on Sunday May 27, 2012 at 9:53 am
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Editor’s Note: The following post comes to us from Roy Shapira, fellow of the Program on Corporate Governance.

In a paper recently published in Fordham Law Review, Corporate Philanthropy as Signaling and Co-optation, I examine a previously unnoticed mechanism through which corporate philanthropy (CP) can enhance company value: signaling.

Current value-enhancing accounts rest on the premise that CP “buys goodwill” for the company: companies, by acting nicely, can increase consumers’ or employees’ willingness to pay. But the necessary conditions underlying this theory are simply too unrealistic. For one, consumers have to be aware of companies’ CP policies and be willing to pay to delegate their philanthropy (that is, pay for someone else’s charitable preferences). We should focus less on charitable preferences and warm-glow concepts, and more on the potential of pro-social sacrifices to convey messages about a firm’s fundamentals. Explicit sacrifices of profits can serve as costly signals. They reliably convey messages about attributes that are important to shareholders, consumers, and employees – who are evaluating whether to invest in, buy products from, or work for those companies (that is, important even to those stakeholders who are strictly profit-minded).

To illustrate, the paper elaborates on the option of CP as a costly signal to investors. An increase in the level of donations could convey messages about financial strength to potential investors, who could infer that future free cash flows are perceived by insiders to be relatively high, that the company is now less financially constrained, or that the riskiness of future cash flows has decreased. Pro-sociality could also bridge asymmetric information between insiders and non-financial stakeholders, such as employees and consumers, by conveying messages about the styles and characteristics of top management and the extent to which they are subject to short-termism.

…continue reading: Corporate Philanthropy as Signaling and Co-optation

Regulation and Distrust

Posted by R. Christopher Small, Co-editor, HLS Forum on Corporate Governance and Financial Regulation, on Friday August 20, 2010 at 9:36 am
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Editor’s Note: The following post comes to us from Philippe Aghion, Professor of Economics at Harvard University; Yann Algan, Professor of Economics at Sciences Po; Pierre Cahuc, Professor of Economics at École Polytechnique; and Andrei Shleifer, Professor of Economics at Harvard University.

In the paper, Regulation and Distrust, which is forthcoming in the Quarterly Journal of Economics, we document and try to explain the strong, negative correlation between government regulation and social capital found in a cross-section of countries. The correlation works for a range of measures of social capital, from trust in others to trust in corporations and political institutions, as well as for a range of measures of regulation, from product markets, to labor markets, to judicial procedures.

We present a simple model explaining this correlation. In the model, people make two decisions: whether or not to become civic (invest in social capital), and whether to become entrepreneurs or choose routine (perhaps state) production. We accept a broad view of civicness or social capital, namely that it is a broad cultural attitude. Those who have not invested in social capital impose a negative externality on others when they become entrepreneurs (e.g., pollute), while those who have invested do not. The community (whether through voting or through some other political mechanism) regulates entry into entrepreneurial activity when the expected negative externalities are large. But regulation itself must be implemented by government officials, who demand bribes if they had not invested in social capital. As a consequence, when entrepreneurship is restricted through regulation, investment in social capital may not pay.

…continue reading: Regulation and Distrust

The Trust Has Left the Building: $23,000 on Spa Treatments

Posted by Broc Romanek, TheCorporateCounsel.net, on Saturday October 25, 2008 at 1:32 pm
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Editor’s Note: This post is from Broc Romanek of TheCorporateCounsel.net.

It looks like the folks at AIG have taken “tone at the top” to heart. Unfortunately, their tone isn’t of the type that is good news for taxpayers, who now own 80% of AIG. As this Washington Post article describes, two former AIG CEOs were grilled during a House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform hearing this week (one of whom received a $5 million performance bonus just before he left – in addition to a $15 million golden parachute – and another AIG executive was fired still receives $1 million per month for consulting services). The former CEOs expressed no remorse for their actions that drove AIG into the arms of the government and didn’t acknowledge making any mistakes. Rather, they blamed the accounting. The House committee members were visibly disturbed by the sheer audacity of these so-called corporate leaders. Given the long list of troubling practices at AIG described in this front-page WSJ article, we may well see these two in pinstripes someday.

The topper is the fact that AIG is now getting an additional $37.8 billion loan from the taxpayers, which is lumped on top of the $80 billion load the government provided last month. This came a day after it was revealed that the company held a junket for sales reps at a resort, spending unbelievable amounts of the taxpayer’s money. How exactly does one spend $23,000 on spa treatments or $5,000 at the bar? The story is outrageous and listening to the radio, it’s fair to say that AIG already has become the posterchild of all that is broken in Corporate America. If this doesn’t get you mad, nothing will.

…continue reading: The Trust Has Left the Building: $23,000 on Spa Treatments

 
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