Why Adopt Codes of Good Governance? A Comparison of Institutional and Efficiency Perspectives

15 Pages Posted: 6 Mar 2008

See all articles by Alessandro Zattoni

Alessandro Zattoni

University of Bocconi - Strategic and Entrepreneurial Management

Francesca F. Cuomo

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Abstract

Our results support the idea that the characteristics of the national corporate governance system and law explain the main differences among the coverage of codes. This conclusion indicates the existence of a strong interplay between hard and soft law. The study contributes to enriching our knowledge on the process of reinvention characterizing the diffusion of new practices. Our results are consistent with a symbolic perspective on corporate governance, and support the view that diffusing practices are usually modified or reinvented by adopters. We collected corporate governance codes developed worldwide at the end of 2005, and classified them according to the country's legal system (common or civil law). Then, we made a comparative analysis of the scope, coverage, and strictness of recommendations of the codes. We tested differences between common law and civil law countries using t-tests and probit models. Our findings suggest that the issuance of codes in civil law countries be prompted more by legitimation reasons than by the determination to improve the governance practices of national companies. Given the global diffusion and the relevance of codes of good governance, the aim of this article is to investigate if the main reason behind their proliferation in civil law countries is: (i) the determination to improve the efficiency of the national governance system' or (ii) the will to legitimize domestic companies in the global financial market without radically improving the governance practices. Empirical given the global diffusion and the relevance of codes of good governance, the aim of this article is to investigate if the main reason behind their proliferation in civil law countries is: (i) the determination to improve the efficiency of the national governance system' or (ii) the will to legitimize domestic companies in the global financial market without radically improving the governance practices. We collected corporate governance codes developed worldwide at the end of 2005, and classified them according to the country's legal system (common or civil law). Then, we made a comparative analysis of the scope, coverage, and strictness of recommendations of the codes. We tested differences between common law and civil law countries using t-tests and probit models. Our findings suggest that the issuance of codes in civil law countries be prompted more by legitimation reasons than by the determination to improve the governance practices of national companies. The study contributes to enriching our knowledge on the process of reinvention characterizing the diffusion of new practices. Our results are consistent with a symbolic perspective on corporate governance, and support the view that diffusing practices are usually modified or reinvented by adopters. Our results support the idea that the characteristics of the national corporate governance system and law explain the main differences among the coverage of codes. This conclusion indicates the existence of a strong interplay between hard and soft law.

Suggested Citation

Zattoni, Alessandro and Cuomo, Francesca F., Why Adopt Codes of Good Governance? A Comparison of Institutional and Efficiency Perspectives. Corporate Governance: An International Review, Vol. 16, Issue 1, pp. 1-15, January 2008. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1103295 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-8683.2008.00661.x

Alessandro Zattoni (Contact Author)

University of Bocconi - Strategic and Entrepreneurial Management ( email )

Via Bocconi 8
Milan, Milan 20136
Italy

Francesca F. Cuomo

affiliation not provided to SSRN

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