International Development, Community and Environment (IDCE)

Date of Award

5-2016

Degree Type

Capstone

Degree Name

Dual Degree Master of Business Administration/Master of Science in Environmental Science and Policy (MBA/ESP)

Department

Graduate School of Management

Chief Instructor

Zhenyang Tang

Second Reader

Halina Brown

Abstract

One of the key rights shareholders retain is the right to vote on issues affecting the companies in which they invest. This voting right is seen as one of the primary means of exercising diligent corporate governance (Cole 2003, Fairfax 2009). Only 28 percent of individual investors vote in corporate elections compared with 91 percent of institutional investors. Informed voting decisions at corporate elections can be very information intensive, and theories of rational apathy and the free rider problem may explain a lack of participation from individual investors.

Many shareholders cannot attend annual corporate meetings, so they can use the proxy voting process. Several proxy voting websites have been launched to increase engagement among individual investors in the voting process, but most have failed. Through case study analysis of Moxy Vote, the United States Proxy Exchange and ProxyDemocracy, this research identified major hurdles in regulatory constraints and funding models and opportunities to engage progressive institutional investors and millennials. This research also explores the link between shareholder voting and corporate disclosure on climate change and sustainability.

 
 

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