January 14, 2008
Corporate Governance Scholarship - A Half Baked Idea
Posted by Daniel Sokol

Next year I will be teaching corporations at the University of Florida (high today of 68F versus Columbia, MO high of 32F).  To tie in my teaching with research, I have a research project in mind (read: half baked idea) involving corporate wrongdoing.  We know from some empirical work where we are more likely to find cartels along industry lines and given certain market conditions (such as number of players), at least in the antitrust literature, there is nothing out there that suggests that regarding corporate wrongdoing that certain firm structures make corporate wrongdoing more likely given the reporting relationship within the firm.  Though I plan to look at firms that have been involved in cartels, this has broader application to other areas or corporate wrongdoing such as  securities or tax.

The problem is that corporate governance is the squishy side of finance because no one can figure out which variable belongs on the left hand side of the equation.  Some think that governance determines behavior; others thing firms choose governance structures because of behavioral risks.  In my case I think I can get around some of these problems because bad corporate behavior (or at least getting caught from such behavior) is the cause of changing corporate reporting structures since I am only looking at companies where something has gone wrong. Any thoughts?

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