Research Handbooks on Globalisation and the Law series
Edited by Ugo Mattei and John D. Haskell
Chapter 13: Beyond corporate governance: why a new approach to the study of corporate law is needed to address global inequality and economic development
For 40 years or more, corporate law scholars the world over have focused on issues of ‘corporate governance’ understood as the study of the rules concerning the internal allocation of power and decision-making authority among shareholders and managers in a single firm, and its global corollary ‘comparative corporate governance’ focused on the impact of domestic corporate governance rules on share ownership patterns in different countries. Scholars of corporate law and development, in turn, have focused on whether there are ‘best practice’ corporate governance rules that are more conducive to the promotion of national champions, or the proliferation of small and medium-sized businesses, or the attraction of foreign direct investment, or the promotion of the productive efficiency of individual domestic firms or that increase the efficiency of domestic capital markets. While these issues are important ones, additional areas of inquiry are required to understand the relationships among firms, corporate law and development under current conditions of capitalist production. In particular, we will need to move beyond the study of the internal governance of individual firms and the impact of different corporate law rules on share ownership patterns in two ways. First, we will need to study the institutions and practices that govern relations between firms engaged in geographically dispersed and legally disaggregated networks of value generation, production and distribution, often referred to as ‘global commodity chains’ or ‘global value chains’.
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