Does the Sarbanes-Oxley Act Have a Future?
Yale Law School; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); European Corporate Governance Institute (ECGI)
May 14, 2009
Yale Law & Economics Research Paper No. 385
Although the enactment of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX) received nearly unanimous congressional support, only a few years thereafter its wisdom was increasingly questioned and its supporters had to stave off attempts to recraft the legislation. The financial crisis of 2008 has sidelined efforts to alter the legislation’s most costly provision, as Congress’s attention has turned to overhauling the regulatory regime for financial institutions. There is, nonetheless, much to be learned about financial regulation and SOX’s future, from an in-depth examination of the interplay of the government and private commissions created with an eye to revising the legislation, media coverage of those entities, and congressional responses. That interaction provides a map of political fault lines and assists in forecasting the prospects for recrafting SOX’s most costly provision. It also serves as a cautionary tale regarding significant regulation enacted in the midst of a financial market crisis. The ongoing financial crisis has sidelined SOX, but its burdensome costs suggest that it might well, in due course, reemerge on the legislative agenda.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 159
Keywords: Sarbanes-Oxley Act, financial regulation, media, corporate governance
JEL Classification: G38, K22
Date posted: May 20, 2009 ; Last revised: June 22, 2009