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.

Carolina Abate, Assia Elgouacem, Tomasz Kozluk, Jan Stráský, Cristiana Vitale, 07 July 2020

In response to the COVID-19 crisis, governments are taking equity stakes in financially distressed companies, potentially risking market distortions. Using micro-level evidence for OECD members, this column shows that in countries where state-owned enterprises are subject to the same market forces as their competitors, they perform on par with private firms. Additionally, it analyses OECD product market regulation indicators to gain insights into areas of corporate governance that would benefit from reforms. It recommends governments to impose strict recovery plans on the firms benefiting from state interventions, set clear conditions for exit from state ownership, and rely on independent advisors to ensure sound valuations of investments and divestments.


22 - 23 October 2020 | Rauischholzhausen Castle (near Marburg), Germany | Justus Liebig University Giessen

Justus Liebig University Giessen in conjunction with the GGS invite academics and PhD students to submit papers for consideration of presentation at the 2nd Conference on Behavioral Research in Finance, Governance, and Accounting. The conference will be held at the Rauischholzhausen Castle near Marburg.

Accepted papers will be considered for a Best Paper Award.

The keynote speech will be given by Prof Steffen Andersen (CBS).

Paper Submission
- Only full papers will be considered
- Deadline for submissions is May 31, 2020
- Authors of accepted papers will be notified by July 15, 2020

More information and submission on:


Patrick Bolton, Tao Li, Enrichetta Ravina, Howard Rosenthal, 30 July 2019

The majority of shares in publicly traded companies in the US are held by institutional investors, who collectively have a large say on the broad objectives of these corporations. This column shows that there is a systematic correlation between the type of institutional investor and their shareholder voting ideology. The two key dimensions of ideology are social responsibility and management discipline.  

Dirk Hackbarth, Alejandro Rivera, Tak-Yuen Wong, 19 December 2018

For decades, academics and practitioners alike have argued that companies do not implement long-term strategies and that shareholders must cure the disease of short-termism to maximise shareholder value. This column examines the perils of short-termism in the context of investment policies and managers’ incentivisation. It finds that shareholder value maximisation for a typical S&P500 firm is not as straightforward as ‘no short-termism’, and depends on firm and investor characteristics.

Dirk Jenter, 12 July 2018

The ways in which the size and nature of a company's board of directors affects its performance are complex. Using a dataset of German firms, Dirk Jenter shows that profitability and stock market valuations decrease as board sizes increase. Ill-designed board size regulations can therefore negatively impact a firm's performance.

Alminas Žaldokas, 21 June 2018

Investors ask companies for greater information disclosure in order to make better investment decisions. Alminas Žaldokas discusses his research on whether increased disclosure to investors may be helping firms collude on prices, harming consumers. This video was recorded at CEPR's Third Annual Spring Symposium.

Jan Hanousek, Anastasiya Shamshur, Jiri Tresl, 29 October 2017

The idea that corruption hinders investments is not new, but the literature has tended to focus on the impact of average corruption levels. Based on 140,000 firm-level observations for 13 Central and Eastern European countries, this column explores the impact of corruption uncertainty. The evidence suggests that while foreign-controlled firms are unaffected by the corruption uncertainty factor, domestic firms decrease investments significantly when uncertainty about corruption practices increases. This decrease in investment is accompanied by a decrease in cash holdings, which points to a possible motive to build off-balance sheet funds for bribery purposes.

Richard Baldwin, Thomas Huertas, Tessa Ogden, 13 October 2017

The Global Crisis started ten years ago and proved a turning point in global economic policy. CEPR organised a high-level conference to discuss whether the regulatory reaction has been sufficient and where the next crisis might come from. This column summarises the conference discussions and introduces a set of video interviews with leading economists at the conference, including Paul Krugman, Anat Admati, John Vickers, Paul Tucker, among others.

Pietro A. Bianchi, Antonio Marra, Donato Masciandaro, Nicola Pecchiari, 13 September 2017

Economic theory doesn’t provide a clear prediction on how a firm’s performance will be affected if some of its board members have ties to organised crime. This column explores this issue using a unique Italian dataset that includes confidential information about ongoing investigations. Seven percent of firms are found to have at least one director under investigation, and these firms demonstrate, on average, lower levels of cash holdings and worse profitability compared with ‘untainted’ firms.

Julián Caballero, Andrés Fernández, Jongho Park, 19 December 2016

Emerging economies are substantially reliant on foreign corporate debt issuance, which has major macroeconomic implications. This column quantifies the extent to which debt issuance matters for macroeconomic performance in emerging economies, and how much macro vulnerability it has entailed. It finds evidence that a large increase in debt reliance has had a considerable effect on macroeconomic performance, but suggests that potential negative impacts on overall health of economies can be reduced in the future if policymakers have access to more and better information.

Selim Elekdag, Gaston Gelos, 24 November 2016

The relationship between corporate governance and financial stability has received little attention in the context of emerging markets. Using new firm-level indices of governance in emerging markets, this column shows that both firm-level governance and governance frameworks have generally improved at the country level over recent years. These stronger frameworks have enhanced the resilience of firms to global shocks, and bolstered balance sheets.

Ross Levine, Chen Lin, Wensi Xie, 07 October 2016

Many policies have been put in place to constrain the expansion of banks across economic borders, in part to avoid them becoming too big and interconnected to fail. However, some argue that such expansion can reduce risk. This column evaluates the impact of geographic expansion on the cost of a bank’s interest-bearing liabilities. Geographic diversification materially lowers bank holding companies’ funding costs, suggesting there is a real cost of restricting banks from using geographic expansion to diversify their risks.

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.

Marco Becht, Andrea Polo, Stefano Rossi, 20 July 2016

Many corporate acquirers impose losses on their shareholders. Conflicted or overconfident CEOs and boards embark on acquisitions that are not in the best interest of the owners of the firm. The governance tool of shareholder voting can represent a potential solution. This column shows that in the UK, where bids for relatively large targets require mandatory shareholder approval, shareholders gain when the transaction is conditional on a vote and lose when it is not. The evidence suggests that the vote puts a constraint on the amount the CEO can offer for the target.


The global financial crisis has had a profound impact on output and productivity in advanced and emerging economies. In response, policymakers around the world have acted boldly with monetary policy, macro-prudential policy and regulation.

Is productivity being held back by financial factors - such as the lack of long term finance for long term investment - or is productivity being held back by real economy factors, such as globalisation and demographics? The recent crisis has also spurred a reassessment of the relationship between the level (and type) of finance and growth. Could weak productivity growth owe in part to wasteful investment spending or an undersupply of financial services? How does the mix of early and late stage financing drive investment and productivity? This conference aims to bring together perspectives on these big questions, as they will provide important guidance for future policy actions.

Rui Albuquerque, Miguel Ferreira, Luis Brandao-Marques, Pedro Matos, 17 January 2016

Previous research has shown that the corporate governance practices of firms are constrained by the legal standards of their country of incorporation. This column explores how an active international market for corporate control can substitute for weak institutions in a host country. Using firm-level data from 22 countries, it shows how cross-border M&A activity improves the governance of non-target firms in the same industry, via peer pressure. These findings provide evidence for corporate governance improvements as a novel positive spillover from FDI.

Nadege Jassaud, 30 October 2014

Sound corporate governance is essential for a well-functioning banking system and the integrity of financial markets. This column discusses the corporate governance of Italian banks, its regulatory framework, and the specific challenges arising from the role played by foundations and large cooperatives. Although Italian banks have recently made progress in improving their corporate governance, more needs to be done.

Patricia Jackson, 13 October 2014

Following the Global Crisis the focus has been on how to make banks safer. Capital and liquidity requirements have been tightened, but attention now needs to shift to corporate governance and risk culture. This column argues that in opaque organisations, formal risk-appetite frameworks can provide a pre-commitment mechanism that tightens risk governance, but a focus on the wider risk culture is also important.

Alex Edmans, 11 September 2014

Executive pay is a controversial political issue with big implications for firm performance. Although public debate focuses on the level of compensation – or at best its sensitivity to firm performance – this column argues that the key issue is its temporal structure. A well designed payment structure can align CEO incentives with long-term shareholder value. The authors recommend lengthening the vesting period of equity and options.



CEPR Policy Research