Research Handbook on Shareholder Power
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Research Handbook on Shareholder Power

Edited by Jennifer G. Hill and Randall S. Thomas

Much of the history of corporate law has concerned itself not with shareholder power, but rather with its absence. Yet, as this Handbook shows, there have been major shifts in capital market structure that require a reassessment of the role and power of shareholders. This book provides a contemporary analysis of shareholder power and considers the regulatory consequences of changing ownership patterns around the world. Leading international scholars in corporate law, governance and financial economics address these central issues from a range of different perspectives including historical, contemporary, legal, economic, political and comparative.
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Chapter 10: Conceiving corporate commitment: creation and confirmation

Colin Mayer


Commit: To give to someone to take care of, keep, or deal with; to give in charge or trust, entrust, consign to (a person, his care, judgement, etc.) from Latin committ_re to put together, join, also (com-intensive) to put for safety, give in charge, entrust, deliver. (Oxford English Dictionary Online). There are a number of striking features of the above definition of commitment. First, it encapsulates the notion of giving or entrusting something or someone to the care of others. Second, there are no contracts or incentives associated with the act of giving but there are obligations and responsibilities thereby arising. Third, the recipient is obliged to look after that which is entrusted to them and to ensure it is held and employed wisely in the interests of the other party. It is not a concept with which economists feel comfortable. There are no contracts or incentives to ensure good performance. There are not even repeat relations to discourage default. There is just trust that the recipient will not abuse their position.

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