Christine Blandhol, Magne Mogstad, J Peter Nilsson, Ola L. Vestad, 13 February 2021

Worker representation on corporate boards has gained popularity as a way to promote the workers’ interests. This column explores whether worker wages are linked to worker representation on corporate boards, using ten years of data from Norway. Workers are paid more and face less earnings risk if they work in firms with worker representation on the board, but these benefits can be entirely explained by firm size and the share of unionised workers. While workers may benefit from being employed in firms with worker representation, they would not benefit from legislation mandating worker representation on corporate boards.

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.

Ralph De Haas, Daniel Ferreira, Tom Kirchmaier, 24 December 2017

How boards perform their dual role of supervisor and advisor of corporate management is difficult to observe from outside of the company. This column presents a survey of non-executive directors in various emerging markets which reveals substantial variation in the structure and conduct of boards as well as in directors’ perceptions about the local legal environment. Directors who feel adequately empowered by local legislation appear less likely to vote against board proposals, and also form boards that play a stronger role in the company’s strategic decision making. 

Louis Nguyen, Jens Hagendorff, Arman Eshraghi, 30 September 2016

Banks are regularly under scrutiny for their professional and ethical behaviour. This column assesses the role of boards in monitoring and advising conduct, and offers new insights for how to structure bank boards to prevent misconduct. Conventional board measures such as board independence and financial expertise have no measurable impact on misconduct being committed or detected. Instead, governance metrics revolving around CEO connections warrant more attention from regulators, investors, and governance activists.

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