Pension fund activism and firm performance

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295 Scopus citations


This paper studies the efficacy of pension fund activism by examining all firms targeted by nine major funds from 1987 to 1993. I document a movement away from takeover-related proxy proposal targetings in the late 1980s to governance-related proxy proposal and nonproxy proposal targetings in the 1990s. For the vast majority of firms, there are no significant abnormal returns at the time of targeting. The subset of firms subject to nonproxy proposal targeting, however, experiences a significant positive wealth effect. There is no evidence of significant long-term improvement in either stock price or accounting measures of performance in the post-targeting period. Collectively, these results cast doubt on the effectiveness of pension fund activism as a substitute for an active market for corporate control.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-23
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1996
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Accounting
  • Finance
  • Economics and Econometrics


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