Saturday, 30 January 2010

What interested me in January

Saturday, 23 January 2010

Motion Chart on shareholder protection and stock market development

Via Gapminder I recently came across Google’s motion charts. They are a nice way to visualise the development of relationships over time. Below a first try: it shows how stock market capitalisation per GPD (data from the World Bank) and shareholder protection (data from CBR, Cambridge) have developed between 1988 and 2005 in France, Germany, India, the UK, and the US.

(or if it does not show in your browser click here [clicking "no" in the pop-up window])

What does this motion chart tell us? Well, in general it can be seen that countries move from the bottom left to the top right - so both shareholder protection and stock market development have improved. Further, if improvements in shareholder protection preceded growth in stock markets, one would expect concave rising trails. However, clicking at "color"-"unique colors", and then "select" and the individual countries, this only seems to be the case for India. With respect to the other countries, some of the convex rising tails appear to show that improvements in shareholder protection followed the growth in stock markets (not vice versa).

Monday, 18 January 2010

The Web of Creditor and Shareholder Protection: A Comparative Legal Network Analysis

Now available on SSRN.

Monday, 11 January 2010

Private universities as gap-fillers

I just returned from Israel, where I had taught a course on corporate governance at a private university. Reflecting on my time at other private universities, I was wondering why some private universities have laxer and others have higher admission and examination standards than public universities.

The best starting point may be that private universities typically charge higher fees than public ones (though there are exceptions; e.g., private universities mainly funded by altruistic donors). Why are students willing to pay higher fees? Private universities themselves may usually say that they provide a 'better product', such as more student-oriented teaching, better infrastructure etc. To some extent this may be the case. However, this is not the entire story, given the fact that many academics (which includes me) teach at private and public universities - and, usually, they would do it in a similar way.

So, there has to be a second reason. Here, we get to the distinction between different types of private universities. In some countries public universities have relatively tough admission and examination standards. Thus, private universities fill the gap for applicants who fall below these standards. In other countries, however, public universities accept almost everyone. Here, private universities typically have tougher standards; thus, they deliberately target students who benefit from the university's elite branding and are therefore willing to pay higher fees. Finally, there are mixtures: some private universities use different strategies for different programmes; e.g. the undergraduate programme may be offered in a restricted domestic setting but not the postgraduate one [PS: I could provide examples for each of these categories but it may be better not to do so].

Tuesday, 5 January 2010

My most popular blog posts in 2009

Actually, I have not installed a reader count. However, ‘googling’ for siemslegal leads to the following top ten (with the big caveat that I don’t really know what exactly drives these google ranks)
2. The UEA Hockey Stick (4 Dec 2009)
5. The DCFR in one picture (14 Mar 2009)
6. Do I have to blog? (4 Apr 2009)
10. Law Journal Rankings (21 Sep 2009)