HKUST IEMS Working Papers No. 2015-20
We examine the impact of corporate board reforms on firm value in 41 countries. Using a difference-in-differences design, we find that firm value increases after enactment of the reforms. The valuation increase is associated with both the intensity and major components of the reform, including board independence, audit committee, and the separation of the roles of chief executive officer and chairman. We also find that the effect of these reforms primarily exists in countries with weak legal institutions. In addition, the effect of reforms is concentrated among comply-or-explain reforms, and the role of country-level institutions is less important for these reforms than for regulation reforms. Taken together, our findings suggest exogenously introduced governance changes benefit shareholders, mainly in countries with weak institutional quality and for reforms with a comply-or-explain approach.
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