2016 GCGC
CONFERENCE: Stockholm

10-11 June 2016

Can Staggered Boards Improve Value? Evidence from the Massachusetts Natural Experiment

Speaker:

Robert M. Daines

Pritzker Professor of Law and Business

Discussant:

Renee Adams

Professor of Finance/FIRN director, Commonwealth Bank Chair in Finance University of New South Wales

Abstract:

We study the effect of staggered boards on long-run firm value using a natural experiment: a 1990 law that imposed a staggered board on all firms incorporated in Massachusetts. We find a significant and positive average (and median) increase in Tobins Q for innovating firms, particularly those facing greater Wall Street scrutiny. This increase in value appears to come, at least in part, from increased investment in R&D and capital expenditures and from valuable patents.

Our findings suggest that staggered boards can be beneficial when firms and investors face information asymmetries – when firms are young, innovating, and reliant on R&D.


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