Journal Article

Varieties of private self-regulation in European capitalism: corporate governance codes in the UK and Germany

Susanne Lütz, Dagmar Eberle and Dorothee Lauter

in Socio-Economic Review

Published on behalf of Society for the Advancement of Socio-Economics

Volume 9, issue 2, pages 315-338
Published in print April 2011 | ISSN: 1475-1461
Published online March 2011 | e-ISSN: 1475-147X | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/ser/mwq037
Varieties of private self-regulation in European capitalism: corporate governance codes in the UK and Germany

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  • Moral Philosophy
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Voluntary codes of best practice have become increasingly prominent in corporate governance regulation. Given their similarity in focus and substance, the global spread of private self-regulation in corporate governance is often attributed to the rise of institutional investors and seen as signalling a global convergence of standards among the traditionally divergent national corporate governance systems. Drawing on institutionalist approaches of Comparative Political Economy, we argue that national code developments are strongly shaped by national state–economy relationships, in particular by domestic ‘key coalitions’. Comparing the emergence of corporate governance codes in the UK and Germany, our study reveals marked differences with respect to the formulation, substance and function of codes in national corporate governance. In the UK, the code largely reflects the demands of institutional investors for stricter standards. In contrast, members of the traditional German ‘stakeholder coalition’ pushed for a code that was intended to be more of a marketing than a regulatory instrument.

Keywords: varieties of capitalism; corporate governance; Germany; UK; regulation; G 30 corporate finance and governance; K 20 regulation and business law; P16 political economy

Journal Article.  8839 words. 

Subjects: Moral Philosophy ; Corporate Social Responsibility ; Welfare Economics ; Political Economy ; Economic Sociology

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