Us Corporate Governance: Lessons from the 1980's
Michael C. Jensen
Harvard Business School; Social Science Electronic Publishing (SSEP), Inc.; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); European Corporate Governance Institute (ECGI)
Morgan Stanley Investment Management
April 30, 1995
Michael C. Jensen, A THEORY OF THE FIRM: GOVERNANCE, RESIDUAL CLAIMS AND ORGANIZATIONAL FORMS, Harvard University Press, December 2000
THE PORTABLE MBA IN FINANCE AND ACCOUNTING, John Leslie Livingstone, ed., Wiley, 1995
The takeover boom of the 1980s challenged entrenched corporate management, who since the 1930s held the reins of corporate decision-making, often at the expense of shareholder interests. The effect was to transfer control over vast corporate resources to smaller, more focused and in many cases private corporations and individuals, who returned huge amounts of equity capital to shareholders. This accomplished the freeing of resources long trapped in mature industries and uneconomic conglomerates.
The popular media's stories about this phenomenon differ markedly from the stories told by careful academic research. We examine these stories, the political reactions to them, and the economic effects of the reactions. We also evaluate the effect of corporate restructuring on capital investment and R&D. We explain the phenomenon of excess capacity, and the forces that lead to exit. Finally, we analyze the breakdown of internal control systems and make recommendations to strengthen them.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 47
Keywords: Takeovers, LBOs, leveraged buyouts, politics of finance, corporate restructuring, entrenched management, excess capacity, internal control systems, exit
JEL Classification: G34Accepted Paper Series
Date posted: October 9, 2000 ; Last revised: April 24, 2011
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