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Legal determinants of external finance revisited : the inverse relationship between investor protection and societal well-being

Collison, David and Cross, Stuart and Ferguson, John and Power, David and Stevenson, Lorna (2012) Legal determinants of external finance revisited : the inverse relationship between investor protection and societal well-being. Journal of Business Ethics, 108 (3). pp. 393-410. ISSN 0167-4544

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Abstract

This paper investigates relationships between corporate governance traditions and quality of life as measured by a number of widely reported indicators. It provides an empirical analysis of indicators of societal health in developed economies using a classification based on legal traditions. Arguably the most widely cited work in the corporate governance literature has been the collection of papers by La Porta et al. which has shown, inter alia, statistically significant relationships between legal traditions and various proxies for investor protection. We show statistically significant relationships between legal traditions and various proxies for societal health. Our comparative evidence suggests that the interests of investors may not be congruent with the interests of wider society, and that the criteria for judging the effectiveness of approaches to corporate governance should not be restricted to financial metrics.