The John M. Olin Center

Paper Abstract

931. Oliver Hart & Luigi Zingales, Companies Should Maximize Shareholder Welfare Not Market Value, 08/2017; forthcoming in Journal of Law, Finance, and Accounting.

Abstract: What is the appropriate objective function for a firm? We analyze this question for the case where shareholders are prosocial and externalities are not perfectly separable from production decisions. We argue that maximization of shareholder welfare is not the same as maximization of market value. We propose that company and asset managers should pursue policies consistent with the preferences of their investors. Voting by shareholders on corporate policy is one way to achieve this.

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