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Corporate governance systems in Europe : differences and tendencies of convergence ; Crafoord lecture

Publication Date
  • Ddc:340
  • Ecology
  • Economics
  • Geography
  • Law


The corporate governance systems in Europe differ markedly. Economists tend to use stylized models and distinguish between the Anglo-American, the German and the Latinist model.1 In this view, for instance, the Austrian, Dutch, German, and Swiss systems are said to be variations of one model. For lawyers the picture is of course, much more detailed as particular rules may vary even where common principles prevail. Many comparative studies on these differences have been undertaken meanwhile.2 I do not want to add another study but to treat a different question. Are there as a consequence of growing internationalization, globalization of markets and technological change, also tendencies of convergence of our corporate governance systems? My answer will be in two parts. As corporate governance systems are traditionally mainly shaped by legislation, the first part will analyze the influence of the economic and technological change on the rule-setting process itself. How does this process react to the fundamental environmental change? That includes a short analysis of the solution of centralized harmonizing of company law within the EU as well as the question of whether EU-wide competition between national corporate law legislators can be observed or be expected in the future. The second part will then turn to the national level. It deals with actual tendencies of convergence or, more correctly, of approach by the German corporate governance system to the Anglo-American one.

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