Bad Apples, Bad Oranges: A Comment from Old Europe on Post-Enron Corporate Governance Reforms

24 Pages Posted: 9 Dec 2003

See all articles by Luca Enriques

Luca Enriques

University of Oxford Faculty of Law; European Corporate Governance Institute (ECGI)


Corporate scandals have hit on both sides of the Atlantic, but the public's reaction to them has been much stronger in the United States than in Europe. This comment first speculates on what accounts for this difference in the reaction on the two continents. Part III provides an account of recent corporate law reform initiatives within the European Union, highlighting the ways in which the Sarbanes-Oxley Act is often used as a model for reform. Part IV then reflects upon the increasing emphasis which reform initiatives place on independent directors, questioning whether it is realistic to expect so much from them in terms of improved governance and management of listed corporations. Part V concludes that the similarity of reform initiatives in Europe and in the United States appears to overlook the differences in corporate ownership between continental Europe on the one hand, and the United States and the United Kingdom on the other.

Keywords: Corporate governance reforms, Corporate scandals, Independent directors

JEL Classification: K22, G32, G34

Suggested Citation

Enriques, Luca, Bad Apples, Bad Oranges: A Comment from Old Europe on Post-Enron Corporate Governance Reforms. Available at SSRN: or

Luca Enriques (Contact Author)

University of Oxford Faculty of Law ( email )

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European Corporate Governance Institute (ECGI)

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