Political Power and Corporate Control: The New Global Politics of Corporate Governance

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Overview

"Peter Gourevitch and James Shinn brilliantly question the received wisdom about state regulation of corporate governance in this resolutely empirical and resolutely political book. They challenge arguments that countries can't change and that business dominates policymaking, showing that what determines a nation's regulatory system is the particular coalition that has emerged between workers, owners, and managers. This book should be required reading for students of corporate governance in the United States and beyond."—Frank Dobbin, Harvard University, author of Forging Industrial Policy: United States, Britain, and France in the Railway Age

"Peter Gourevtich and James Shinn are here onto one of the important inquiries of economic development today: To understand how the largest firms are run, why they are owned as they are in different nations, and what explains the variation-some nations with deep stock markets and some without. Much of the academic writing to date focuses on the economics of finance and the underlying legal structure. Get the law right, it's widely thought, and financial markets will flourish. Less attention has been paid to how, whether, and to what extent finance and law are both surrounded by a nation's politics; in short, why it sometimes is so hard to get the law right. Gourevitch and Shinn bring to bear on this subject today's thinking in political science, reaching closer to what seems to be where the basic causes of corporate governance variation around the world lie-not just in economics and law, but in political institutions and preferences."—Mark Roe, Harvard University, author of Strong Managers, Weak Owners: The Political Roots of American Corporate Finance and Political Determinants of Corporate Governance

"This seminal book underlines the vital political importance of corporate governance, a subject typically viewed only from legal and business perspectives. It will become a classic in political economy."—Peter J. Katzenstein. Walter S. Carpenter, Jr. Professor of International Studies, Cornell University

"Many comparative corporate governance studies like to pit bank-based systems against market-based systems, or civil-law against common-law countries. Gourevitch and Shinn make a compelling case that the reality of corporate governance is much too rich and complex to fit into these simple categories. They paint a fascinating picture of the evolution of corporate governance in Asia, Europe, and North America as driven primarily by changing political coalitions and ideologies, pension reform, privatization, and globalization."—Patrick Bolton, Princeton University, coauthor of Contract Theory

"A major contribution by leading scholars of corporate governance, this book brings together insights from economics, political science and law. Highly recommended for anyone interested in the relationship between governance and development, it sheds helpful new light on the key debate about whether and how legal origin is destiny."—Simon Johnson, Sloan School of Management, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

"Political Power and Corporate Control is the first serious, book-length political science treatment of the two-way interaction between corporate form and politics. There is nothing comparable."—Merritt Fox, Michael E. Patterson Professor of Law, Columbia University School of Law

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Editorial Reviews

The Corporate Library - Nell Minow
This is an exceptionally important book, meticulously researched and persuasively argued. It puts today's most pressing questions of corporate credibility and accountability in context, both historical and global. It is filled with information and insights of vital importance to anyone in the corporate world.
" Foreign Affairs hard N. Cooper

Gourevitch and Shinn conduct comparative analysis at its best, introducing cross-country quantitative analysis where that is possible and appropriate, but also offering analytical narratives on corporate governance, its likely origins, and the political and legal structures that support it in thirteen countries (mostly in Asia and Europe, but also including Chile and the United States). They combine superb conceptual clarity with informative detail.
From the Publisher
"This is an exceptionally important book, meticulously researched and persuasively argued. It puts today's most pressing questions of corporate credibility and accountability in context, both historical and global. It is filled with information and insights of vital importance to anyone in the corporate world."—Nell Minow, The Corporate Library

"Gourevitch and Shinn conduct comparative analysis at its best, introducing cross-country quantitative analysis where that is possible and appropriate, but also offering analytical narratives on corporate governance, its likely origins, and the political and legal structures that support it in thirteen countries (mostly in Asia and Europe, but also including Chile and the United States). They combine superb conceptual clarity with informative detail."—Richard N. Cooper, Foreign Affairs

"A comprehensive examination of corporate governance."—Choice

Foreign Affairs
Gourevitch and Shinn conduct comparative analysis at its best, introducing cross-country quantitative analysis where that is possible and appropriate, but also offering analytical narratives on corporate governance, its likely origins, and the political and legal structures that support it in thirteen countries (mostly in Asia and Europe, but also including Chile and the United States). They combine superb conceptual clarity with informative detail.
Choice
A comprehensive examination of corporate governance.
The Corporate Library
This is an exceptionally important book, meticulously researched and persuasively argued. It puts today's most pressing questions of corporate credibility and accountability in context, both historical and global. It is filled with information and insights of vital importance to anyone in the corporate world.
— Nell Minow
Foreign Affairs
The limited liability corporation, invented 400 years ago, has proved to be remarkably successful at organizing resources for production and distribution and for making investments that take years to mature. Around the world, the corporation takes a bewildering variety of forms in terms of its ownership and governance, and this book attempts to explain and interpret this variety — in regard to the preferences of owners, managers, and employees; the political systems that translate those preferences into laws and regulations; the weight that different stakeholders carry in different political systems; and the coalitions that form among stakeholders. Gourevitch and Shinn conduct comparative analysis at its best, introducing cross-country quantitative analysis where that is possible and appropriate, but also offering analytical narratives on corporate governance, its likely origins, and the political and legal structures that support it in 13 countries (mostly in Asia and Europe, but also including Chile and the United States). They combine superb conceptual clarity with informative detail.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780691133812
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press
  • Publication date: 7/16/2007
  • Pages: 368
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Peter A. Gourevitch is Professor of Political Science and founding Dean at the Graduate School of International Relations and Pacific Studies, University of California, San Diego. He is the author of "Politics in Hard Times: Comparative Responses to International Economic Crises" and former coeditor of "International Organization". James Shinn Visiting Professor at Georgetown University's School of Foreign Service, where he teaches courses on technology and foreign policy. Previously he worked in the U.S. State Department's East Asia Bureau and was later a general manager, entrepreneur, and outside director for fifteen years in the high tech industry at various firms including Dialogic, which he cofounded.

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Table of Contents

LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS vii
PREFACE xiii

CHAPTER ONE: Introduction and Summary Argument 1
Why Fight about Corporate Governance? 3
Great Variance and the "Great Reversals" 4
Putting the Pieces Together: In Search of a Political Explanation 10
Policy Consequences 12
Plan of Attack 14

CHAPTER TWO: Governance Patterns: What Causes What? 15
Outcomes: Dependent Variables and Patterns of Control 16
Capitalist Economic Policies, Minority Shareholder Protections, and Degrees of Coordination 20
Politics: Preferences and Institutions 22
Conclusion 26

CHAPTER THREE: Framing Incentives: The Economics and Law Tradition 27
Origins of the Debate 28
Incomplete Contracts and Private Order 30
Law and Regulation: Minority Shareholder Protections—Information, Oversight, Control, and Incentives 39
Varieties of Capitalism: Degrees of Coordination in Market Economies 51
Conclusion 55

CHAPTER FOUR: Politics: Preferences and Institutions 57
Mapping Financial Interests on Political Processes: A Causal Model 57
Preferences and Coalitions among Owners, Managers, and Workers 59
Political Institutions: Majoritarian and Consensus Mechanisms 67
Alternative Arguments: Legal Family and Economic Sociology 83
Conclusion 93

CHAPTER FIVE: Preference Cleavages 1: Class Conflict 95
Section 1: Owners and Managers Dominate Workers 96
The Investor Model 96
Analytic Narrative 123
Korea: Changing Institutions, Shifting Preferences 123
Section 2: Workers Dominate Owners and Managers 132
The Labor Power Model 132
Analytic Narrative 140
Sweden: The Exemplar of the Labor Power Model? 140
Conclusion 147

CHAPTER SIX: Preference Cleavages 2: Sectoral Conflict 149
Section 1: Cross-Class Coalitions 149
The Corporatist Model: Workers and Managers Dominate Owners 150
Analytic Narrative 159
Germany: From Corporatist Bargain to a Transparency Coalition 160
Japan: Concentration without Owners 167
The Netherlands: The Evolution of "Poldermodel" Corporatism 177
Section 2: Building Coalitions in Authoritarian Systems 187
The Oligarchy Model: Owners Dominate Workers and Managers 187
Analytic Narratives 189
Russia: Oligarchs and Politics 190
China: "Selectorate-Electorate" Coalition 192
Singapore: Shareholder Protections with "Guided" Democracy 199
Conclusion 203

CHAPTER SEVEN: Preference Cleavages 3: Transparency, Voice, and Pensions 205
Section 1: Workers and Owners Dominate Managers 205
From Class Conflict to Corporatist Compromise 206
Analytic Narratives 228
Chile: Authoritarian Roots of the Transparency Coalition 228
Malaysia: Ethnicity and Democracy in Governance Politics 232
Section 2: Managers Dominate Owners and Workers 237
"Managerism" 237
Analytic Narratives 241
The United States: A Contested Path from Oligarchy to MSP 241
United Kingdom: The Power of Majoritarian Political Institutions? 259
France: Without the State, Who Is in Control? 262
Conclusion 273

CHAPTER EIGHT: Conclusion: Going Forward 277
Questions and Answers: What Explains Variance? 277
Shortcomings and Guideposts for Future Research 285
Conclusion: Fighting over the Governance Debate 287

DATA APPENDIX 297
BIBLIOGRAPHY 313
INDEX 333

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