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This chapter introduces the Research Handbook on Comparative Corporate Governance and surveys several of the central themes addressed in the book. Most corporate governance research deals with the interaction between board members, officers, and shareholders, primarily in large, publicly traded corporations. Considerable volumes of literature thus are preoccupied with reducing conflicts of interest between shareholders and management, and consequently minimizing agency cost, thus vindicating the narrow finance perspective. Given the predominance of controlling shareholders around the globe, the literature increasingly focuses acutely on conflicts between controlling and minority shareholders. In a comparative or international context, research also often addresses all groups whose interests are affected by corporate activities and who have some degree of influence on corporations, such as creditors and employees. The book attempts to take a broad perspective. It deals with interactions between boards and shareholders, as well as minority and controlling shareholders. We cover legal duties and their enforcement, as well as the balance of powers generated by the institutional setup. Nevertheless, the interests of other “stakeholders” are very much present. The authors also explore corporate purpose, including short-termism, corporate social responsibility (CSR) and environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues. In addition, the book tackles key debates in the field, including the significance of legal origins for the development of corporate law, convergence in corporate governance, and the appropriate choice of research methods in comparative corporate governance scholarship.

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Research Handbook on Comparative Corporate Governance (Afra Afsharipour & Martin Gelter eds., Edward Elgar Publishing, Forthcoming)

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