Essays in corporate governance [electronic resource]
- Nadya Malenko.
- Physical description
- 1 online resource.
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- ["This dissertation provides a theoretical analysis of several corporate governance mechanisms in the presence of information asymmetries and agency conflicts between shareholders, managers, and directors. The first essay of the dissertation analyzes decision-making in corporate boards and studies how board characteristics and the design of board meetings affect board decisions. Two other essays are on shareholder activism. The second essay focuses on voting for non-binding shareholder proposals and examines its effectiveness in conveying shareholder views to the management. The third essay considers another common form of shareholder activism, private negotiations with the management, and studies the activist's choice between private negotiations and public confrontation. The first essay, \"Communication and Decision-Making in Corporate Boards, \" develops a theory of communication and collective decision-making in a board of directors whose members have private information about the issue under discussion. The key element of the model is that the quality of board communication is endogenous, because it depends on the time and effort directors are willing to put into communicating their information to others. Directors may have biases regarding the decision and may be reluctant to disagree with the prevailing opinion in the boardroom. I show that when effective communication is personally costly for directors, both stronger preferences for conformity and stronger biases may improve the board's decisions because directors will have stronger incentives to convince others of their position. These results have implications for the design of board policies, including the use of open vs. secret ballot voting, the establishment and composition of committees, and the frequency of executive sessions of outside directors. The second essay, \"Non-Binding Voting for Shareholder Proposals, \" which is co-authored with Doron Levit and is forthcoming in the Journal of Finance, considers another setting where information relevant for the firm's decisions is dispersed among many agents, namely, the firm's large shareholders. Our main question is whether voting for non-binding shareholder proposals fulfills its intended role of conveying shareholders' expectations to the management. We show that when the interests of the manager and shareholders are not aligned, non-binding voting generally fails to convey shareholder views to the manager. This distinguishes voting for non-binding proposals from standard voting for binding proposals, where some information is always conveyed. In practice, the effectiveness of shareholder proposals may be affected by external governance mechanisms, such as the market for corporate control in the form of activist investors. Our analysis demonstrates that the presence of an activist investor can enhance the advisory role of non-binding voting only if there is substantial conflict of interest between the activist and shareholders. Although shareholder proposals have become increasingly common in recent years, submitting a proposal to a shareholder vote is often viewed by activist investors as a tactic of last resort. According to survey evidence, activists generally try to achieve their objectives through private negotiations with the management and use confrontational tactics only if these negotiations are not successful. The third essay, \"Behind-the-Scene Negotiations in Shareholder Activism, \" examines under which circumstances negotiations between the activist and the management fail. I study these negotiations in a bargaining framework where the manager is privately informed about his private benefits. The model provides implications for the likelihood of proposal withdrawals and announcement effects of proposal submissions. It demonstrates, in particular, that the announcement of an activist's intervention may have a negative price effect even if the intervention is known to be beneficial to the company."]
- Publication date
- Submitted to the Graduate School of Business.
- Thesis (Ph.D.)--Stanford University, 2011.
- Related Work
- Stanford University. Graduate School of Business Dissertation. 2011.
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