"Do Delaware CEOs Get Fired?"

Michigan Law Authors
Areas of Interest
Publish Date
Journal of Banking and Finance
Publication Type
Journal Article

Critics have charged that state competition in corporate law, which Delaware dominates, leads to a “race to the bottom” making management unaccountable. We argue that Delaware corporate law attracts firms with particular financial and governance characteristics. We find that Delaware attracts growth firms in industries with more takeover activity. Delaware firms have smaller boards, and their directors are paid more and serve on more boards. In addition, Delaware firms attract greater institutional ownership. We also provide a bottom-line test of the race-to-the-bottom hypothesis by examining forced CEO turnover. After controlling for differences in firm characteristics, we find that firms incorporated in Delaware are more likely to terminate CEOs. We also find that that termination decision is less sensitive to poor performance. Overall, we see no clear pattern supporting the “race to the bottom” hypothesis.

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