Building on the momentum generated by our 2008 symposium, the Asia Law Society at the University of Michigan Law School will convene a symposium on Saturday, March 21, 2009 entitled “Convergence or Cataclysm: Corporate Governance and Market Development in Asia.”
What forces explain the dominant corporate structures and shareholder behavior in a given country? In our ever “globalized” world, is competition propelling us toward one standard model of corporate law and securities regulation?
Scholars have debated the relative merits of rival models of corporate governance for decades. In the past, the tension was posed in terms of a stock market centered-system of dispersed ownership versus the blockholder and cross-shareholding system that generally prevailed across Asia. Many argued that the Anglo-American pattern of dispersed ownership was inferior to the bank centered capital markets of Japan because the latter enabled corporate executives to manage for the long run, while U.S. managers allegedly looked merely to maximize short-term earnings. Yet with the burst of the bubble economy in Japan and the Asian financial crisis, a tide of opinion turned against the presumed superiority of banks as monitors. A U.S.-style shareholder rights-centered ideology seemed to go mainstream even among the later-developing “transition” economies of the region (China and India).
Today, global markets have been rattled by a new economic crisis. A crisis which many in Asia attribute to the U.S. led financial system. Does our current economic malaise mean that the pendulum will swing once again and, this time, away from the standard shareholder-oriented model as the normative view of corporate structure and governance?
To better understand these issues, we have asked legal scholars, practitioners, and market regulators to comment on the present state and future trajectory of corporate governance and financial market development in Asia. Please view our list of highly esteemed participants
, and don't forget to register
for the symposium, which will ensure that we can accommodate you for our keynote lunch at the Michigan Union.
Special thanks to our sponsors, including the University of Michigan Law School, The Michigan International Institute, Michigan Center for Chinese Studies, Center for Japanese Studies, and Center for Korean Studies.
We look forward to seeing you on March 21st!
John Graham and David Caragliano
2009 Symposium Co-chairs