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Inviting further comments on academic analysis of index fund influence


For the currently revised version of the paper referenced in the article below, see

The earlier working draft of this paper was presented for review by Forum participants in November 2018, here.

Note: One of the authors of the article below, Lucian A. Bebchuk, has been an invited expert in several Forum programs since 2000.


Source: The Harvard Law School Forum on Corporate Governance and Financial Regulation, November 4, 2019 posting

Index Funds and the Future of Corporate Governance: Replying to Critics

Posted by Lucian Bebchuk (Harvard Law School) and Scott Hirst (Boston University), on Monday, November 4, 2019

Editor’s Note: Lucian Bebchuk is the James Barr Ames Professor of Law, Economics, and Finance, and Director of the Program on Corporate Governance, at Harvard Law School. Scott Hirst is Associate Professor at Boston University School of Law and Director of Institutional Investor Research at the Harvard Law School Program on Corporate Governance.

This post is based on their study (discussed on the Forum here). Related research from the Program on Corporate Governance includes The Agency Problems of Institutional Investors by Lucian Bebchuk, Alma Cohen, and Scott Hirst (discussed on the Forum here); and The Specter of the Giant Three by Lucian Bebchuk and Scott Hirst (discussed on the Forum here).

We recently placed on SSRN a revised and expanded version of our forthcoming article, Index Funds and the Future of Corporate Governance: Theory, Evidence and Policy, which will be published in the December issue of the Columbia Law Review. The article puts forward a comprehensive theoretical, empirical and policy analysis of index fund stewardship.

Our article has been in circulation for the last year, and we have been fortunate to receive reactions and responses to our work from many academics, both in their writings and in various fora in which earlier versions of this article were presented, as well as from practitioners. Our revision attempts to engage in detail with the arguments of a wide range of commentators taking a different view on index fund stewardship.

Among the academic works taking such a different view with which we engage are studies by Ian Appel, Todd Gormley & Donald Keim; John Coates; Asaf Eckstein; Einer Elhauge; Jill Fisch, Assaf Hamdani & Steven Davidoff Solomon; Ron Gilson & Jeff Gordon; Caleb Griffin; Sean Griffith; Marcel Kahan & Ed Rock; Dorothy Shapiro Lund; Patrick Jahnke; Jonathan Lewellen & Katharina Lewellen; Alexander Platt; and Eric Posner, Fiona Scott Morton & Glen Weyl.

Among the practitioners with whose reactions or arguments we engage are officers of the “Big Three,” BlackRock, State Street Governance Advisors, and Vanguard,

We continue to work on these issues, and comments and reactions from readers would be most welcome.

The revised version of our article is available here.



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