Corporate Governance: A Survey Of Oecd Countries by Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development

By Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development

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In dealing with corporate governance issues, member countries have used a varying combination of legal and regulatory instruments on the one hand, and voluntary codes and principles on the other. In some instances, the latter are backed by legal or regulatory obligations to “comply or explain”. The balance between law, regulation and voluntary principles varies widely in the OECD area depending in part on history, legal traditions, efficiency of the courts, the political structure of the country and the stage of enterprise development.

Some caution is, however, necessary even though the results are apparently robust. The estimates refer to fixed effects, so that the regressions do not explain variation between firms. Yet from the viewpoint of policy, the question often comes down to knowing which firm specific arrangements improve performance. Put another way, they did not estimate what would happen if a company decided to improve (reduce) shareholder power since other governance measures such as changes in shareholder concentration or board composition were not investigated at the same time (see Börsch-Supan and Köke).

Zingales, “Financial systems, industrial structure and growth”, Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Vol. 17, 4, 2001. 25. For example, opinion polls show a dramatic fall in the standing of CEOs in the eyes of the public. 26. Concerns about lack of integrity were reflected in the record number of account restatements in the US during 2002. The steep decline of stock prices after 2000 should not be taken as prima facie evidence of lack of integrity since a macroeconomic correction to overvaluation was also underway.

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