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Beyond Liability: Rewarding Effective Gatekeepers

54 Pages Posted: 18 Oct 2007  

Lawrence A. Cunningham

George Washington University


This Article adds to the emerging literature on rewards to promote effective capital market gatekeeping. Capital market gatekeeping theory traditionally relies heavily on threats of legal liability for failure to perform legally mandated functions (along with a presumed constraint imposed by reputation effects). The ineffectiveness of many gatekeepers in the past decade revealed limitations of the liability strategy and yet reforms continue to emphasize legal duties and liability for gatekeepers. This emphasis also has the negative side-effect of discouraging gatekeepers from willingness to perform desired functions - such as to detect for fraud. Using rewards can induce gatekeepers to perform desired functions and add positive incentives to encourage them to be more effective in vetting enterprises seeking access to capital.

Keywords: gatekeepers, auditors, lawyers, incentive compensation, reputation, liability

JEL Classification: G20, G28, G30, K00, K10, K20, K22, K40, L20, L13

Suggested Citation

Cunningham, Lawrence A., Beyond Liability: Rewarding Effective Gatekeepers. Minnesota Law Review, Vol. 92, 2007; GWU Legal Studies Research Paper No. 359; GWU Law School Public Law Research Paper No. 359. Available at SSRN:

Lawrence A. Cunningham (Contact Author)

George Washington University ( email )

2000 H Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20052
United States
202-994-0732 (Phone)

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