This paper develops a proposed research agenda in order to highlight how corporate governance, accounting and company law are relevant to the consideration of income inequality and wider social health. To illustrate this proposed research agenda, this paper draws on corporate governance research in the law and finance tradition, as well as macro-level studies in accounting concerned with the wider corporate governance context, in order to consider the association between shareholder protection, income inequality and child mortality. Under 5 child mortality is an objective indication of a country’s ability to nurture its children. In an influential body of work, La Porta et al. (1997a, 1997b, 1998, 2008) concluded that a common law legal system which protected the interests of shareholders gave rise to better economic and social outcomes. However, drawing on corporate governance and accounting literature we contend that such a conclusion is flawed. The findings of this paper suggest that common law countries (i.e. those with the greater legal protection for investors) have worse social outcomes in terms of under-5 child mortality.
Ferguson, J., Power, D., Stevenson, L., & Collison, D. (2017). Shareholder protection, income inequality and social health: a proposed research agenda. Accounting Forum, 41(3), 253-265. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.accfor.2016.12.005