A study by the Harvard Law School Program on Corporate Governance, “What Matters in Corporate Governance?,”  has had substantial influence on subsequent research work.

The study, by professors Lucian Bebchuk LL.M. ’80 S.J.D. ’84, Alma Cohen, and Allen Ferrell ’95, put forward a corporate governance index—the Entrenchment Index (E Index)—for assessing the quality of corporate governance in public companies. The study identifies six corporate governance provisions as especially important, and demonstrates empirically the significance of these provisions for firm valuation.

According to Google Scholar citations data, as of the end of 2019, the study was cited by 2,539 research papers. Furthermore, a review of these research papers has identified more than 1,000 studies that applied and used the E index in their empirical analysis. The list includes many empirical studies published in:

  • Leading journals in finance such as “The Journal of Finance,” “The Journal of Financial Economics,” and “The Review of Financial Studies;”
  • Leading journals in economics such as “The Journal of Political Economy” and “The Review of Economics and Statistics;”
  • Leading journals in law and economics such as “The Journal of Law and Economics” and “The Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization;” and
  • Leading journals in accounting, such as “The Journal of Accounting and Economics,” “Journal of Accounting and Public Policy,” and “The Accounting Review.”

The Bebchuk, Cohen, & Ferrell study was first circulated in 2004 and was published in 2009 in “The Review of Financial Studies.”