Why Do Countries Matter so Much for Corporate Governance?

54 Pages Posted: 20 Sep 2004 Last revised: 24 Oct 2021

See all articles by Craig Doidge

Craig Doidge

University of Toronto - Rotman School of Management

George Andrew Karolyi

Cornell University - Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management

René M. Stulz

Ohio State University (OSU) - Department of Finance; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); European Corporate Governance Institute (ECGI)

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: September 2004

Abstract

This paper develops and tests a model of how country characteristics, such as legal protections for minority investors, and the level of economic and financial development, influence firms' costs and benefits in implementing measures to improve their own governance and transparency. The model focuses on an entrepreneur who needs to raise funds to finance the firm's investment opportunities and who decides whether or not to invest in better firm-level governance mechanisms to reduce agency costs. We show that, for a given level of country investor protection, the incentives to adopt better governance mechanisms at the firm level increase with a country's financial and economic development. When economic and financial development is poor, the incentives to improve firm-level governance are low because outside finance is expensive and the adoption of better governance mechanisms is expensive. Using firm-level data on international corporate governance and transparency ratings for a large sample of firms from around the world, we find evidence consistent with this prediction. Specifically, we show that (1) almost all of the variation in governance ratings across firms in less developed countries is attributable to country characteristics rather than firm characteristics typically used to explain governance choices, (2) firm characteristics explain more of the variation in governance ratings in more developed countries, and (3) access to global capital markets sharpens firm incentives for better governance, but decreases the importance of home-country legal protections of minority investors.

Suggested Citation

Doidge, Craig and Karolyi, George Andrew and Stulz, Rene M., Why Do Countries Matter so Much for Corporate Governance? (September 2004). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=589010

Craig Doidge

University of Toronto - Rotman School of Management ( email )

105 St. George Street
Toronto, Ontario M5S 3E6
Canada
416-946-8598 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.rotman.utoronto.ca/FacultyAndResearch/Faculty/FacultyBios/Doidge

George Andrew Karolyi

Cornell University - Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management ( email )

Ithaca, NY 14853
United States

Rene M. Stulz (Contact Author)

Ohio State University (OSU) - Department of Finance ( email )

2100 Neil Avenue
Columbus, OH 43210-1144
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.cob.ohio-state.edu/fin/faculty/stulz

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

European Corporate Governance Institute (ECGI)

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1000 Brussels
Belgium

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