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This year, the Finance Series prize of €5,000, which is sponsored by Standard Life Investments, the global fund manager, was awarded to Professor Mariassunta Giannetti (Stockholm School of Economics) and Mengxin Zhao (University of Alberta), for their paper on “Board Diversity and Firm Performance Volatility”.

Dealing with the topical issue of board diversity, this paper contributes to what seems to be an emerging alternative viewpoint, namely that diversity has also the downside of leading to less coherent decision-making if board members do not share a common perspective. The paper’s notable insight is located in theory and in relating diversity to firm risk.

In addition, the Law Series prize, a further €5,000 which is sponsored by Allen & Overy LLP, the international law firm, was awarded to Professor Ronald J. Gilson (Columbia University, Stanford University) for his paper “From Corporate Law to Corporate Governance”.

This paper, which is a contribution to the forthcoming Oxford University Press Handbook of Corporate Law and Governance, edited by Jeffery Gordon and Georg Ringe, highlights the evolution from corporate law to corporate governance which reflects “a move from a simple legal view of the corporation to one that has become increasingly complex and dynamic, responding to the increased complexity and dynamics of the capital, input and product markets that corporations inhabit”. The paper is a masterful review of 50 years of legal and finance scholarship on corporate governance, which at the same time, building on Professor Gilson’s own influential work in the area, provides a complete and thoughtful picture of what corporate governance in its various interdisciplinary dimensions is and why it matters in today’s business world.

Speaking at the ceremony, Professor Marco Becht, ECGI Executive Director said “The Working Paper law and finance series’ are at the core of ECGI activities, reflecting outwardly the outstanding work of our research members around the globe. The series are strengthened by the generous sponsorship of our partners, Allen & Overy and Standard Life Investments, who have had the vision to support this important award for a number of years running”.

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