A new paper by Christopher Bruner, the William Donald Bain Family Professor of Corporate Law at Washington and Lee, has recently been featured at several corporate law blogs. The paper – titled “Center-Left Politics and Corporate Governance: What Is the ‘Progressive’ Agenda?” – was the subject of invited guest posts authored by Professor Bruner for the Columbia Law School Blue Sky Blog on March 1, 2017, and the Oxford Business Law Blog on March 14, 2017. Other prominent corporate law blogs have also recently featured the paper, including Professor Bainbridge, The Conglomerate, and Business Law Prof Blog.
The aim of Professor Bruner’s paper is to explain a striking disconnect among the U.S. center-left in terms of political preferences regarding corporate governance. While progressive scholars and corporate lawyers have generally favored stakeholder-oriented conceptions of the corporation through state corporate law, when the frame of reference shifts to federal contexts, one often finds actors associated with the political left championing expansion of shareholders’ corporate governance powers and favoring shareholder-centric conceptions of corporate decision-making. Professor Bruner’s paper examines the range of political, economic, legal, and market forces that have driven this state/federal divide among the center-left, and explores implications for the future development of U.S. corporate governance.