Research Handbooks in Corporate Law and Governance series
Edited by Jennifer G. Hill and Randall S. Thomas
Chapter 8: The leximetric research on shareholder protection
In 2005 the author of this chapter participated in a project on ‘Law, Finance and Development’ at the University of Cambridge. This project aimed to revisit studies that claimed to have found that cross-country differences in shareholder protection explain differences in the development of financial markets. It involved constructing new datasets on shareholder protection to be used for econometric purposes. Yet, after the legal data had been collected for the first countries, econometric challenges meant that research on the does-law-matter question progressed relatively slowly. Thus, we decided to write a first paper limited to the analysis of the legal data. Borrowing from Cooter and Ginsburg (2003), we called this approach ‘leximetric’ (Lele and Siems 2007). Further leximetric papers followed, as we felt that this line of research, initially just a side-product, was fairly well received. This chapter re-visits the leximetric research on shareholder protection. It discusses the research of the original ‘Law, Finance and Development’ project as well as related research not affiliated with this group. In addition, it presents new data that brings up-to-date some of the findings of the former project. The overall aim is to show how leximetrics can contribute to many important questions of shareholder protection and company law. For example, it may be able to show whether or not there is a trend to increase shareholder power across countries. It can also provide us with tools to challenge statements that there are deep differences between civil and common law countries in company law.
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