Voice and Power: Do Institutional Shareholders Make Use of Their Voting Power?
53 Pages Posted: 8 Nov 2018 Last revised: 13 Aug 2020
Date Written: June 4, 2020
I investigate the role of voting power – the ability to influence a vote’s outcome – in the voting behavior of institutional shareholders. Using hand-collected data from Israel, an environment with concentrated ownership, I employ a power index borrowed from the political science literature to examine the voting power wielded by institutional shareholders and the voting patterns they display. I find that institutional shareholders’ voting power is negatively related to their tendency to vote against management: the stronger the shareholder, the higher the probability they will vote in favor of a management-sponsored proposal. Based on evidence obtained here, this behavior is attributable to pre-vote negotiations as well as to the voting strategy of “counting on my vote not counting.” Next, I use detailed data on shareholders’ votes to identify the channel through which a voting rule affects minority shareholder protection. I find that powerful institutional shareholders almost never use their voting power to vote against management, not even when signals of poor governance are discernible. I conclude that the effect of a voting rule on minority shareholder protection operates through proposal selection, rather than through direct voting.
Keywords: Corporate Governance, Shareholder Voting, Voting Behavior, Voting Power, Institutional Shareholders, Shareholder Protection, Expressive Voting
JEL Classification: G34,G23, L51
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation