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Trust Law, Corporate Law, and Capital Market Efficiency

Authors: Sitkoff, Robert H
Issue Date: 1-Jan-2003
Series/Report no.: CLB-06-027
Abstract: In both the publicly-traded corporation and the private donative trust a crucial task is to minimize the agency costs that arise from the separation of risk-bearing and manage-ment. But where the law of corporate governance evolved in the shadow of capital- market checks on agency costs, trust governance did not. Thus, even more than that of close corporations, the law and study of private trusts offers an illuminating counterfac-tual—a control, as it were—for a playful thought experiment about the importance of capital market efficiency to the law and study of public corporations. The animating idea for this essay is that many of the differences on the agency costs frontier between the public corporation and the private donative trust can be roughly attributed to their relative positions in modern capital markets and the related disparity in their residual claimants’ ease of exit. Among other things, this approach reveals a correlation between the trust law model and the views of corporate law scholars who doubt the ECMH and its implica-tions for corporate governance. The essay also discusses the use of market data for as- sessing breach and damages in corporate and trust litigation and for empirical evaluation of theoretical scholarly analysis in both fields. More generally, comparison of the gov-ernance of the public corporation and the private donative trust brings into view the im-portance of relative price efficiency for the modern approach to corporate governance.
Appears in Collections:NYU Pollack Center for Law & Business Working Papers

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