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A.C. Pritchard

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Stephen J. Choi and A.C. Pritchard

This chapter reviews the existing empirical literature relating to government enforcement of the securities laws, particularly by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), including comparative work, assessment of the impact of enforcement, and analysis of enforcement patterns. It also identifies particularly promising areas for future research. Little work has been done to date exploring the incentives faced by attorneys who conduct investigations on behalf of the SEC and how those incentives shape enforcement decisions. This chapter offers preliminary evidence on the career paths of SEC lawyers and how those career choices might influence the enforcement actions brought by the SEC.

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Stephen J. Choi and A.C. Pritchard

This chapter evaluates the effectiveness of the lead plaintiff provisions in the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act. The empirical record shows that, in substantial measure, the PSLRA’s lead plaintiff provision has succeeded. Institutional investors have emerged as an important force in securities class actions. However, the competition among lawyers to serve as lead counsel has not been driven exclusively by price and quality of representation. The larger institutional investors that have most frequently agreed to serve as lead plaintiffs in securities class actions have been government-sponsored pension funds. The political influence over these funds raises suspicion that at least some class action law firms are buying lead counsel status with campaign contributions. This chapter reviews the empirical record and suggests specific reforms that might promote additional transparency and competition on price, as well as additional requirements for lead plaintiffs to further enhance the screening role played by the PSLRA.