Corporate Governance and Firm Performance
53 Pages Posted: 27 Sep 2004
Date Written: December 7, 2004
We create a broad measure of corporate governance, Gov-Score, based on a new dataset provided by Institutional Shareholder Services. Gov-Score is a composite measure of 51 factors encompassing eight corporate governance categories: audit, board of directors, charter/bylaws, director education, executive and director compensation, ownership, progressive practices, and state of incorporation. We relate Gov-Score to operating performance, valuation, and shareholder payout for 2,327 firms, and we find that better-governed firms are relatively more profitable, more valuable, and pay out more cash to their shareholders. We examine which of the eight categories underlying Gov-Score are most highly associated with firm performance. We show that good governance, as measured using executive and director compensation, is most highly associated with good performance. In contrast, we show that good governance as measured using charter/bylaws is most highly associated with bad performance. We examine which of the 51 factors underlying Gov-Score are most highly associated with firm performance. Some factors representing good governance that are associated with good performance have seldom been examined before (e.g., governance committee meets annually, independence of nominating committee). In contrast, some factors representing good governance that are associated with bad performance have often been examined before (e.g., consulting fees less than audit fees paid to auditors, absence of a staggered board, absence of a poison pill). Gompers, Ishii and Metrick (2003) created G-Index, an oft-used summary measure of corporate governance. G-Index is based on 24 governance factors provided by Investor Responsibility Research Center. These factors are concentrated mostly in one ISS category, charter/bylaws, which we show is less highly associated with good performance than are any of the other seven categories we examine. We document that Gov-Score is better linked to firm performance than is G-Index.
Keywords: Corporate governance, firm performance, gov score, nominating committee, governance committee, option burn rate
JEL Classification: D21, G30, G33, G34, G35, M41
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