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Working papers: 2016

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WP486: Takeover Law to Protect Shareholders: Increasing Efficiency or Merely Redistributing Gains?

Ying Wang and Henry Lahr

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We construct a dynamic takeover law index using hand-collected data on legal provisions and empirically examine the effect of takeover regulation to protect shareholders on shareholder wealth for bidders and targets in a multi-country setting. We find that a stricter takeover law increases combined wealth for bidders and targets, which suggests that stronger shareholder protection in the takeover bid process increases the efficiency of the takeover market. Contrary to our hypothesis, results show that stricter takeover law does not hurt bidders. Its effect on target announcement returns and takeover premiums is significantly positive and economically large. Our findings suggest that the mandatory bid rule and ownership disclosure increase synergistic gains in takeovers, whilst the fair-price rule and squeeze-out rights may reduce combined gains. Further results show that increased overall gains can be explained by greater competition in the market for corporate control and a shorter time to successful completion of a takeover under stricter takeover law.

WP485: Law, Trust & Institutional Change in China: Evidence from Qualitative Fieldwork

Ding Chen, Simon Deakin, Mathias Siems and Boya Wang

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China’s rapid growth in the absence of autonomous legal institutions of the kind found in the west appears to pose a problem for theories which stress the importance of law for economic development. In this paper we draw on interviews with lawyers, entrepreneurs and financial market actors to illustrate the complexity of attitudes to law and economic growth in contemporary China. In the case of product markets, business relations are increasingly characterised by a mix of trust-based transacting and legal formality which is not fundamentally different from practice in the west. Financial markets are less like their western counterparts, thanks to the preponderant role of government in asset allocation, and a lack of transparency in market pricing. However, in both sets of markets we find evidence of a transition from inter-personal trust (guanxi) to impersonal transacting, and of growing demands from business and legal groups for the impartial application of legal rules and market regulations. China’s experience does not suggest that law is irrelevant or unrelated to growth, but that legal and economic institutions coevolve in the transition from central planning to a market economy.

WP484: Ownership, Institutions & Firm Value: Cross-Provincial Evidence from China

Boya Wang

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The distinctive political-economic setups of emerging economies engender special corporate governance issues that warrant added attention to the broader institutional environments. Using a unique provincial firm-level dataset, we investigate how control natures, ownership concentration, and provincial differences in government quality and financial deregulation jointly affect the market value of Chinese listed companies. Firstly, the presence of a central government controller is generally associated with higher Tobin’s Q, while a negative premium is found for firms ultimately controlled by local governments. We then use alternative concentration measures and an instrumental variable approach to confirm a nonlinear relationship between blockholder ownership and Tobin’s Q, implying that firm value first decreases and then increases as blockholders own more shares. Further analysis reveals that government quality has a significant, positive moderating effect on the relationship between different control natures and firm value, while the valuation effect of ownership concentration also depends on regional financial development.

WP483: The Macro-Economic Impact of Brexit: Using the CBR Macro-Economic Model of the UK Economy (UKMOD)

Graham Gudgin, Ken Coutts, Neil Gibson and Jordan Buchanan

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This working paper uses the new CBR macro-economic model of the UK economy to investigate possible futures following the referendum decision to leave the EU. The paper briefly explains why we felt the necessity to build a new model and describes some of its key features. Since Brexit is a unique event with no precedent it is not possible to do a normal forecast in which a few assumptions are made about a limited range of exogenous variables. The best that can be done is to construct scenarios and two are presented here. The difficult part is to decide what scale of adjustment is needed to reflect the likely realities of Brexit. Analysis by HM Treasury of the potential impact of various outcomes for trade outside the EU is examined and found wanting. Instead the actual experience of UK export performance is examined for a long period including both pre- and post- accession years. This suggests a more limited impact of EU membership. While we include a scenario based on Treasury assumptions, a more realistic, although in our view still pessimistic, scenario assumes half of the trade loss of the Treasury. The results are presented through comparing these scenarios with a pre-referendum forecast. In the milder Brexit scenario there is a 2% loss of GDP by 2025 but little loss of per capita GDP, less unemployment but more inflation. In the more severe, Treasury-based scenario the loss of GDP is nearer 5% (2% for per capita GDP), inflation is higher and the advantage in unemployment less.

WP482: How UK Banks are Changing Their Corporate Culture & Practice Following the Financial Crisis of 2007-08

Ian W Jones and Michael G Pollitt

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This paper looks at positive case studies of organisational change at significant UK banks in response to the financial crisis. We present examples of good practice, which specifically address the identified need to change the culture and practice of UK banking. Our aim is to identify cases that can be of value in teaching. Our research complements the existing research on ethical banking and on culture change in UK banking. We begin by reviewing some of the literature on the crisis as it relates to the culture of banking in the UK. We go on to document three case studies from each of five banks with a significant retail business in the UK – Barclays, Lloyds, TSB, Santander and Hoare. We finish with a conclusion that draws out some over-arching lessons on culture change in UK banking from our case studies.

WP481: Co-operation in Production, the Organization of Industry & Productive Systems: A Critical Survey of the ‘District’ Form of Industrial Organisation & Development

Sue Konzelmann and Frank Wilkinson

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Liberal economics has traditionally put strong emphasis on individualisation and specialisation – and has struggled with the notion of co-operation. Thus, Alfred Marshall’s pioneering work on the English industrial districts of his day posed a significant challenge to the conventional wisdom, which embraced laissez-faire markets and Adam Smith’s claim that improvements in efficiency depend upon the increased division of labour within firms competing in them. Marshall found that an important determinant of the competitive success of industrial districts was effective co-operation within and between firms, supported by a dense network of institutions, and markets regulated by agreed rules, norms and standards. He theorised that these generate external economies of scale and scope that enable the district and its constituent small firms to successfully compete with large, vertically integrated firms. From the mid-1920s, however, with the emergence and growth of very large, highly successful firms, the conventional wisdom shifted to suppose that the historical tendency in capitalist development was towards large firm dominance; and the small firm sector was progressively reduced to a residuum. However, the rediscovery of the industrial district by Italian scholars during the 1960s revived interest in Marshall’s notion of localised productive systems and attracted considerable attention to this form of industrial organisation. This paper traces themes within this literature, from the earliest theorising by the Classical Political Economists to the present, focusing on the role of co-operation in production, the relationship between the organisation of production and markets, and the nature and functioning of productive systems.

WP480: State and Knowledge Production: Industrial Relations Scholarship under Chinese Capitalism

Enying Zheng and Simon Deakin

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We use the evolution of industrial relations scholarship in China to study the role of the state in the process of knowledge production. In the course of the last decade the policy of the Chinese state has shifted from promoting a flexible labour market as part of an export-led growth strategy, to addressing problems of growing labour unrest. This shift has, however, yet to be reflected in research and teaching of industrial relations. Drawing on an archive of over 7,000 articles published in Chinese-language journals, we show that the industrial relations field has failed to cohere in China as it did in North America and Western Europe in response to similar pressures in the middle decades of the twentieth century. Chinese research on labour issues is divided between a practice-orientated human resource management literature and a sociological approach which is isolated from practice and policy. We explain this pattern in terms of the distinctive nature of Chinese capitalism, which manages to be simultaneously state-encompassed yet individualistic, leaving little space for the collective institutions of civil society which have been the focus of industrial relations research in the West.

WP479: Pricing Labour Capacity: The Unexpected Effects of Formalizing Employment Contracts in China

Enying Zheng and Simon Deakin

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This paper analyses the effects of recent laws formalising employment contracts in China, part of a wider policy to normalise features of an emerging market economy. Using a unique hand-collected dataset of 294 industrial injury claims handled by a labour dispute arbitration commission in 2010, we study the impact of having a formal contract on the amount of compensation paid to victims of workplace accidents. An inherent feature of the employment contract under a market economy is its incompleteness: because work-effort bargain and labour capacity cannot be accurately specified ex ante, the employer can expropriate the surplus from production ex post. The legally-driven formalisation of employment contracts is intended to redress this effect by holding the employer to the terms of the parties’ agreement and proving for third party enforcement. Our empirical analysis shows that having a written employment contract makes an injury claim more than twice likely to be arbitrated than mediated, in line with the intended effect of the law, but that it also leads to a reduction of around half in the amount of compensation awarded. Formalisation of employment contracts may reduce employer discretion during the course of the employment relationship, but it also makes it difficult for workers to invoke actual or customary wage levels for the purposes of putting a value on an accident compensation claim, in the face of the formal wage stated in the contract. Formalisation ends up reinforcing the hierarchical power of the employer which is a feature of capitalist work relations.

WP478: The Contribution of Labour Law to Economic Development & Growth

Simon Deakin

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A review of theoretical, historical and quantitative empirical research on the economic effects of labour laws suggests that worker-protective labour regulation generates net positive outcomes for development and growth. Labour law should be seen as a developmental institution which has a symbiotic relationship to the rise of capitalism in the global north and is part of the transition to a market economy being experienced by today’s low- and middle-income countries. Claims made for the desuetude of labour law’s core mechanisms, including the standard employment relationship, are not borne about by recent evidence. The complex role played by labour regulation in the dynamics of capitalism would repay further investigation.

WP477: What’s Happening to Our Universities?

Ben R Martin

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In recent decades, many universities have been moving in the direction of a more hierarchical and centralised structure, with top-down planning and reduced local autonomy for departments. Yet the management literature over this period has stressed the numerous benefits of flatter organisational structures, decentralisation and local autonomy for sections or departments. What might explain this paradox? And why have academics remained strangely quiet about this, meekly accepting their fate? The paper critically examines the dangers of centralised top-down management, increasingly bureaucratic procedures, teaching to a prescribed formula, and research driven by assessment and performance targets, illustrating these with a number of specific examples. It discusses a number of possible driving forces of these worrying developments, and concludes by asking whether academics may be in danger of suffering the fate of the boiled frog.