Centre for Commercial Law


London Law & Finance Seminar Series

19 January 2021–18 May 2021, 1:00 pm–1:00 pm

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London Law & Finance Seminar Series - Events 2021

Event Information

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London Law & Finance Seminar Series

About this events series in 2021

The organisers of the seminar series are Carsten Gerner-Beuerle (UCL)Marc Moore (UCL) and Edmund Schuster (LSE). All seminars take place from 1-2:30pm GMT/BST, except for those marked with an asterisk, which begin at 6pm. Seminars are currently held via Zoom.
To register for a seminar and/or to be added to the mailing list, please send an email to list@lawfin.london.

The following events (download a PDF version of the events schedule) have been scheduled for early 2021 so far (all events to be held via Zoom):

Lent Term 2021

19 January 2021Renée B Adams
(Saïd Business School, Oxford)
Shareholders and Stakeholders Around the World (SSRN)

This study sets out to examine the relative importance of legal and cultural institutions and personal values in directors’ discretion. We present first evidence on the way personal and institutional factors together guide public company directors in decision-making concerning shareholders and stakeholders. In a sample comprising more than nine hundred directors from over fifty countries of origin, we confirm that directors hold a principled, quasi-ideological stance towards shareholders and stakeholders, called shareholderism. Directors’ shareholderism correlates with personal values, but also with cultural norms that are consistent with entrepreneurship. Among legal factors, only creditor protection exhibits a negative correlation with shareholderism, as theory would suggest, while general legal origin and proxies for shareholder and employee protection are unrelated to it.

2 February 2021Cathy Hwang
(UVA Law)
The Social Cost of Contract (SSRN)

When private parties perform contracts, the public bears some of the costs. But what happens when society confronts unexpected contractual risks? During the Covid-19 pandemic, completing particular contracts—such as following through with weddings, conferences, and other large gatherings—will greatly increase the risk of rapidly spreading disease. A close reading of past cases illustrates that when social hazards sharply increase after formation, courts have sometimes rejected, reformed, and reinterpreted contracts so that parties who breach to reduce external harms are not left holding the bag.

This Essay builds on that observation in making two contributions. Theoretically, it characterizes contracts as bargains that always involve the public. Law has three tools at hand to govern contract’s social cost: delineating subject matter about which parties can bargain, interacting with parties as a regulator, and, finally, interpreting and reforming in court. Post-hoc consideration of social costs is the least well-known, and most unsettled, mode of governing contract externalities. We ground that technique in its history as a specialized application of the law of contract public policy. Practically, this Essay advises parties negotiating whether and how to perform to consider the public’s health, since history teaches that, at least some of the time, courts will too.

16 February 2021Florian Ederer
(Yale School of Management)
Common Ownership, Competition, and Top Management Incentives (github)

This paper presents a mechanism based on managerial compensation through which common ownership can affect product market outcomes. We embed a canonical managerial incentive design problem in a model of strategic product market competition under common ownership. Consistent with empirical evidence, firm-level variation in common ownership causes variation in managerial incentives across firms, as well as variation in product prices, market shares, concentration, and output across markets—all without communication between shareholders and firms, coordination between firms, knowledge of shareholders’ incentives, or market-specific interventions by top managers. We provide empirical evidence consistent with the theoretical prediction that top management incentives are less performance-sensitive in firms whose large investors hold greater ownership stakes in industry competitors.

2 March 2021*
(6pm London time)
Andrew Baker
Staggered Difference-in-Differences in Corporate Research (paper to follow) 
16 March 2021*
(6pm London time)
Dorothy S. Lund
(USC Gould School of Law)
Public Primacy in Corporate Law (paper to follow) 

Summer Term 2021 (TBC/more to follow)

4 May 2021Iain MacNeil & Irene-Marie Esser
(both University of Glasgow)
From a Financial to an Enterprise Model of ESG Investing (paper to follow) 
18 MayVicente Cuñat
(LSE Finance)
Managerial Response to Shareholder Empowerment: Evidence from Majority Voting Legislation Changes (SSRN)

This paper studies how managers react to shareholder empowerment that makes the votes on shareholder proposals regarding majority-voting director elections binding. Exploiting staggered legislative changes that introduce such empowerment, we find that managers become more responsive by initiating majority voting through either management proposals or governance guidelines. Further results suggest compromised implementation: managers adopt provisions that give them greater control over the channel of implementation and allow them to retain directors who fail in elections. Managers show the greatest resistance to implementing majority-voting standards when shareholder value is likely to suffer more or benefit less from the legislation.