How Does Corporate Mobility Affect Lawmaking? A Comparative Analysis

44 Pages Posted: 25 Jan 2008 Last revised: 30 Mar 2011

William W. Bratton

University of Pennsylvania Law School; European Corporate Governance Institute (ECGI)

Joseph A. McCahery

Tilburg University - School of Law; European Banking Center (EBC); Tilburg Law and Economics Center (TILEC); European Corporate Governance Institute (ECGI)

Erik P. M. Vermeulen

Tilburg University - Department of Business Law; Philips Lighting - Legal Department; Tilburg Law and Economics Center (TILEC); Kyushu University - Graduate School of Law

Date Written: January 2008

Abstract

This paper examines the impact of increased corporate mobility on corporate lawmaking in the European Union (EU). More specifically, we seek an answer to a simple question: Has the increased mobility which arose from the implementation of the Societas Europaea (SE) and the path-breaking decisions of the European Court of Justice (ECJ) led to an outbreak of regulatory competition and the emergence of a Delaware-like member state in Europe? Two types of corporate mobility are distinguished: (1) the incorporation mobility of start up firms and (2) the reincorporation mobility of established firms. As to incorporation mobility, the Centros triad of cases makes it possible for start-up firms to incorporate in a foreign jurisdiction. Many entrepreneurs have taken advantage of this new freedom of establishment. However, recent data from Germany and The Netherlands indicate declining numbers of such foreign incorporations over time. Moreover, Centros-based incorporation mobility is a rather trivial phenomenon, economically speaking. The actors in question seek only to minimize costs of incorporation. National lawmakers have been responding, amending their statutes to lower these costs. But, because out of pocket cost minimization at the organization stage operates as only a secondary motivation of 'choice-of-business-form' decisions, there arise no competitive pressures that cause national legislatures to engage in thorough-going reform addressed to corporate governance more generally. As to reincorporation mobility, which concerns the migration of the statutory seat of a firm incorporated in one member state to another member state, the SE has opened the door, but not widely enough to serve as a catalyst for company law arbitrage. Reincorporation mobility is still far from generally available in the EU. As a result, competitive pressures do not yet motivate changes in the fundamental governance provisions of national corporate law regimes.

Keywords: corporate mobility, costs of regulation, regulatory competition

JEL Classification: G38, K22

Suggested Citation

Bratton, William W. and McCahery, Joseph A. and Vermeulen, Erik P. M., How Does Corporate Mobility Affect Lawmaking? A Comparative Analysis (January 2008). ECGI - Law Working Paper No. 91/2008; Georgetown Law and Economics Research Paper No. 1086667; Amsterdam Center for Law & Economics Working Paper No. 2008-01. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1086667 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1086667

William Wilson Bratton

University of Pennsylvania Law School ( email )

3501 Sansom Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104
United States

European Corporate Governance Institute (ECGI) ( email )

c/o ECARES ULB CP 114
B-1050
Brussels
Belgium

HOME PAGE: http://www.ecgi.org

Joseph A. McCahery (Contact Author)

Tilburg University - School of Law; European Banking Center (EBC) ( email )

Warandelaan 2
Tilburg, 5000 LE
Netherlands
+31-(0)13-466-2306 (Phone)
+31-(0)13-466-2323 (Fax)

Tilburg Law and Economics Center (TILEC)

Warandelaan 2
Tilburg, 5000 LE
Netherlands

European Corporate Governance Institute (ECGI)

c/o ECARES ULB CP 114
B-1050 Brussels
Belgium

HOME PAGE: http://www.ecgi.org

Erik P.M. Vermeulen

Kyushu University - Graduate School of Law ( email )

6-19-1, Hakozaki, Higashiku
Fukuoka, 812-8581
Japan

Tilburg University - Department of Business Law ( email )

Philips Lighting - Legal Department ( email )

Amstelplein 2
Amsterdam
Netherlands

Tilburg Law and Economics Center (TILEC)

Warandelaan 2
Tilburg, 5000 LE
Netherlands

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