Audinga Baltrunaite, Egle Karmaziene, 10 November 2020

There is little evidence of how the supply side of potential candidates affects board appointments in private firms. This column exploits the gradual introduction of high-speed and high-comfort train services in Italy to examine whether access to a larger pool of talent improves the match between a firm and its directors. Easier access to non-local directors increases positive assortative matching between directors and firms – high-quality firms improve their boards’ quality, while low-quality firms reduce the quality. Moreover, director quality is positively associated with firm growth and productivity, and negatively associated with the probability of default.

Michael Ewens, Nadya Malenko, 08 August 2020

Corporate governance of privately held firms is becoming increasingly important given the rise in the number of private firms and recent governance scandals at such firms. This column examines the structure of the board of directors at venture-capital-backed startups and documents new facts about private-firm board size, the allocation of control, and board-composition dynamics. Within firms, board control shifts over time from venture capitalists to entrepreneurs. Independent directors play a previously under-explored ‘mediation’ role, mediating and resolving disputes between venture capitals and entrepreneurs.

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