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  • Writer's pictureKirk Hartley

A New Study on the Race to the Bottom in Corporate Law – the “Lax Law” of Nevada i

“Aggressive” companies prefer the “lax law” of Nevada. That’s the bottom line of a new paper on the race to the bottom in corporate law. The information arrives courtesy of an October 29, 2014 post at the CLS Blue Sky blog that links to a Harvard blog on corporate  governance.  Here’s the opening from the author’s October 28, 2014 summary at the Harvard site:

“In our paper, What Happens in Nevada? Self-Selecting into Lax Law, forthcoming in the Review of Financial Studies, we study the financial reporting behavior of firms that incorporate in Nevada, the second most popular state for out-of-state incorporations, after Delaware. Compared to Delaware, Nevada law has weak fiduciary requirements for corporate managers and board members. We find evidence consistent with the idea that lax shareholder protection under Nevada law induces firms prone to financial reporting errors to incorporate in Nevada, and that lax Nevada law may also cause firms to engage in risky reporting behavior. In particular, we find that Nevada-incorporated firms are 30 – 40% more likely to report financial results that later require restatement than firms incorporated in other states, including Delaware. These results hold when we narrow our set of restatements to more serious infractions, including restatements that reduce reported earnings, and to restatements that raise suspicions of fraud or lead to regulatory investigations.”

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