Corporate Governance Compliance and Firm Value: A Cultural Perspective
49 Pages Posted: 23 Oct 2019
Date Written: October 12, 2019
We show the corporate governance reforms introduced by the Japanese government since 2014 have not succeeded in increasing aggregate firm value. These policies, of which voluntary disclosure in the form of ‘comply or explain’ is a major element, have inadvertently led to overcompliance by target firms listed in the first section of the Tokyo Stock Exchange as well as a range of non-target firms. We argue this overcompliance behaviour is, inter alia, correlated with the cultural values of ‘conformity’, ‘respect for authority’ and ‘power distance’, which permeate the Japanese corporate culture. This results in smaller firms, which are typically not listed on the first section of the exchange, following the compliance behaviour of larger firms listed on the first section in the same industry sector. Importantly, this pressure to follow in the steps of leading firms is to the detriment of board effectiveness and shareholder value. We document a larger reduction in the market value of young and R&D intensive firms, and firms appointing outsider directors with lower advising quality. These findings highlight the risks in adopting corporate governance policies without due attention to cultural nuances.
Keywords: Voluntary disclosure, National culture, Corporate governance, Compliance, Japan
JEL Classification: G34, M14
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation