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Article

Access_open Fostering Worker Cooperatives with Blockchain Technology: Lessons from the Colony Project

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 3 2018
Keywords blockchain, collaborative economy, cooperative governance, decentralised governance, worker cooperatives
Authors Morshed Mannan
AbstractAuthor's information

    In recent years, there has been growing policy support for expanding worker ownership of businesses in the European Union. Debates on stimulating worker ownership are a regular feature of discussions on the collaborative economy and the future of work, given anxieties regarding the reconfiguration of the nature of work and the decline of standardised employment contracts. Yet, worker ownership, in the form of labour-managed firms such as worker cooperatives, remains marginal. This article explains the appeal of worker cooperatives and examines the reasons why they continue to be relatively scarce. Taking its cue from Henry Hansmann’s hypothesis that organisational innovations can make worker ownership of firms viable in previously untenable circumstances, this article explores how organisational innovations, such as those embodied in the capital and governance structure of Decentralised (Autonomous) Organisations (D(A)Os), can potentially facilitate the growth of LMFs. It does so by undertaking a case study of a blockchain project, Colony, which seeks to create decentralised, self-organising companies where decision-making power derives from high-quality work. For worker cooperatives, seeking to connect globally dispersed workers through an online workplace, Colony’s proposed capital and governance structure, based on technological and game theoretic insight may offer useful lessons. Drawing from this pre-figurative structure, self-imposed institutional rules may be deployed by worker cooperatives in their by-laws to avoid some of the main pitfalls associated with labour management and thereby, potentially, vitalise the formation of the cooperative form.


Morshed Mannan
Morshed Mannan, LLM (Adv.), PhD Candidate, Company Law Department, Institute of Private Law, Universiteit Leiden.
Article

ODR4Refugees through a Smartphone App

Journal International Journal of Online Dispute Resolution, Issue 1 2017
Keywords refugees, ODR, mediation, smartphone, disputes
Authors Petros Zourdoumis
AbstractAuthor's information

    For the past two years we have been monitoring in Greece several refugee related disputes such as disputes between refugees, intercultural disputes, disputes between refugees and the local community and disputes between refugees and the camp administration. We have also noticed that almost all refugees had smartphones as they were easy to carry with them and allow them to stay connected with those left behind or been relocated. Therefore in order to offer dispute resolution services we had to address two main issues: mobility & speed. We thought that technology could fit perfectly in this context. So, we decided, to develop a smartphone application for refugees that could create the environment for ODR. The App will not only resolve disputes online but try to prevent disputes or their escalation. Some of its innovative features will be personalized texts, language selection, disputes menu, automatic appointment of mediator, case filing, video, audio and text communication. It will have a friendly interface and be very easy to use even for those who have limited knowledge of technology and its download and use will be free for all refugees. The process will be conducted online by specially trained mediators and will be informal & flexible.


Petros Zourdoumis
Petros Zourdoumis is Founder of ODReurope, General Director of ADR point, a Fellow of the National Center for Technology and Dispute Resolution (USA) and project leader for ODR4Refugees (http://odr.info/petros-zourdoumis/).
Article

Access_open The Integrity of the Tax System after BEPS: A Shared Responsibility

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 1 2017
Keywords flawed legislation, tax privileges, tax planning, corporate social responsibility, tax professionals
Authors Hans Gribnau
AbstractAuthor's information

    The international tax system is the result of the interaction of different actors who share the responsibility for its integrity. States and multinational corporations both enjoy to a certain extent freedom of choice with regard to their tax behaviour – which entails moral responsibility. Making, interpreting and using tax rules therefore is inevitably a matter of exercising responsibility. Both should abstain from viewing tax laws as a bunch of technical rules to be used as a tool without any intrinsic moral or legal value. States bear primary responsibility for the integrity of the international tax system. They should become more reticent in their use of tax as regulatory instrument – competing with one another for multinationals’ investment. They should also act more responsibly by cooperating to make better rules to prevent aggressive tax planning, which entails a shift in tax payments from very expert taxpayers to other taxpayers. Here, the distributive justice of the tax system and a level playing field should be guaranteed. Multinationals should abstain from putting pressure on states and lobbying for favourable tax rules that disproportionally affect other taxpayers – SMEs and individual taxpayers alike. Multinationals and their tax advisers should avoid irresponsible conduct by not aiming to pay a minimalist amount of (corporate income) taxes – merely staying within the boundaries of the letter of the law. Especially CSR-corporations should assume the responsibility for the integrity of the tax system.


Hans Gribnau
Professor of Tax Law, Fiscal Institute and the Center for Company Law, Tilburg University; Professor of Tax Law, Leiden University, The Netherlands.
Article

Get Your Money’s Worth from Investment Advice

Analysing the Clash over the Knowledge and Competence Requirements in the Markets in Financial Instruments Directive (MiFID II)

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 1-2 2017
Keywords Better Regulation, ESMA, financial regulation, expertise, MiFID II
Authors Aneta Spendzharova, Elissaveta Radulova and Kate Surala
AbstractAuthor's information

    This special issue aims to examine whether there is an enduring politicization in the European Union (EU) “Better Regulation” agenda despite the emphasis on neutral evidence-based policy making. Our article addresses this overarching research question by focusing on the use of stakeholder consultations in the case of financial sector governance, particularly, the amended Markets in Financial Instruments Directive (MiFID II). We show that calibrating key provisions in MiFID II, such as those concerning knowledge and expertise, is not a simple exercise in rational problem definition and policy design. The provisions examined in this article have important repercussions for financial sector firms’ business strategies and operations. Thus, investment firms, banks, training institutes and public organizations have mobilized and actively sought to assert their views on the appropriate requirements for professional knowledge and experience in MiFID II. We found that, following the stakeholder consultation, the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) opted for a minimum harmonization approach at the EU level. At the same time, ESMA also supported giving the respective national competent authorities sufficient remit to issue additional requirements in accordance with national laws and regulatory practices. Our article demonstrates that while public consultations provide rich evidence for the policy making process, they also contribute to the lasting politicization of regulatory decisions.


Aneta Spendzharova
Aneta Spendzharova is Assistant Professor in the Political Science department of Maastricht University, The Netherlands.

Elissaveta Radulova
Elissaveta Radulova is Assistant Professor in the Political Science department of Maastricht University, The Netherlands.

Kate Surala
Kate Surala is a graduate student in the MSc in Law and Finance, Pembroke College, University of Oxford, UK.
Article

Access_open Exit, Voice and Loyalty from the Perspective of Hedge Funds Activism in Corporate Governance

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 4 2016
Keywords Uncertainty, entrepreneurship, agency costs, loyalty shares, institutional investors
Authors Alessio M. Pacces
AbstractAuthor's information

    This article discusses hedge funds activism based on Hirschman’s classic. It is argued that hedge funds do not create the loyalty concerns underlying the usual short-termism critique of their activism, because the arbiters of such activism are typically indexed funds, which cannot choose short-term exit. Nevertheless, the voice activated by hedge funds can be excessive for a particular company. Furthermore, this article claims that the short-termism debate cannot shed light on the desirability of hedge funds activism. Neither theory nor empirical evidence can tell whether hedge funds activism leads to short-termism or long-termism. The real issue with activism is a conflict of entrepreneurship, namely a conflict between the opposing views of the activists and the incumbent management regarding in how long an individual company should be profitable. Leaving the choice between these views to institutional investors is not efficient for every company at every point in time. Consequently, this article argues that regulation should enable individual companies to choose whether to curb hedge funds activism depending on what is efficient for them. The recent European experience reveals that loyalty shares enable such choice, even in the midstream, operating as dual-class shares in disguise. However, loyalty shares can often be introduced without institutional investors’ consent. This outcome could be improved by allowing dual-class recapitalisations, instead of loyalty shares, but only with a majority of minority vote. This solution would screen for the companies for which temporarily curbing activism is efficient, and induce these companies to negotiate sunset clauses with institutional investors.


Alessio M. Pacces
Professor of Law & Finance, Erasmus School of Law, and Research Associate, European Corporate Governance Institute.
Article

A More Forceful Collective Redress Schemes in the EU Competition Law

What Is the Potential for Achieving Full Compensation?

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 4 2016
Keywords full compensation, private enforcement, damages actions, collective actions, deterrence
Authors Žygimantas Juška
AbstractAuthor's information

    The damages actions reform of the European Union is predetermined to fail in achieving its stated goal of full compensation. There are two main reasons for this. First, the Directive on damages actions fails to maintain a balance between the claims of direct and indirect purchasers. Second, the EU policy is not designed to collect a large group of antitrust victims, who have suffered only a low-value harm (e.g., end consumers). The only way to achieve compensation effectiveness is to overstep the bounds of the EU compensatory regime, which is trapped in the grip of conservatism. In such circumstances, this article will explore three forceful scenarios of collective redress that include different types of deterrence-based remedies. The principal aim is to assess the chances of these scenarios in achieving full compensation. After assessing them, the best possible mechanism for compensating victims will be designed. In turn, it will allow the evaluation of to what extent such a scheme can ensure the achievement of full compensation.


Žygimantas Juška
PhD candidate at Leiden University. The author was the EU Fulbright Schuman grantee at Stanford University and the University of Michigan (2015-2016). Hence, this article is based on the study performed in the United States.
Article

Access_open Harmony, Law and Criminal Reconciliation in China: A Historical Perspective

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 1 2016
Keywords Criminal reconciliation, Confucianism, decentralisation, centralisation
Authors Wei Pei
AbstractAuthor's information

    In 2012, China revised its Criminal Procedure Law (2012 CPL). One of the major changes is its official approval of the use of victim-offender reconciliation, or ‘criminal reconciliation’ in certain public prosecution cases. This change, on the one hand, echoes the Confucian doctrine that favours harmonious inter-personal relationships and mediation, while, on the other hand, it deviates from the direction of legal reforms dating from the 1970s through the late 1990s. Questions have emerged concerning not only the cause of this change in legal norms but also the proper position of criminal reconciliation in the current criminal justice system in China. The answers to these questions largely rely on understanding the role of traditional informal dispute resolution as well as its interaction with legal norms. Criminal reconciliation in ancient China functioned as a means to centralise imperial power by decentralizing decentralising its administration. Abolishing or enabling such a mechanism in law is merely a small part of the government’s strategy to react to political or social crises and to maintain social stability. However, its actual effect depends on the vitality of Confucianism, which in turn relies on the economic foundation and corresponding structure of society.


Wei Pei
Wei Pei, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor at the Beihang School of Law in the Beihang University.

    A general prohibition against displaying religious, political and philosophical symbols constitutes indirect discrimination which fails to meet the proportionality requirement. In this case the court took account of the fact that it was possible for the employer to distinguish between back-office and front-office work (the claimant worked in a back office position) and also because of the absence of complaints by colleagues or clients and the absence of any attempt by the claimant to encourage other women to wear a headscarf.


Gautier Busschaert
Gautier Busschaert is a lawyer with Van Olmen & Wynant in Brussels, www.Vow.be.
Article

Goodwill/Intangibles Accounting Rules, Earnings Management, and Competition

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 1 2015
Keywords fraud, mergers and acquisitions, Games economic psychology, regulation, goodwill and intangibles
Authors Michael I.C. Nwogugu
AbstractAuthor's information

    Intangible assets account for 60%-75% of the market capitalization value in most developed stock markets around the world. The US GAAP and IFRS Goodwill and Intangibles accounting regulations (ASC 805, Business Combinations; ASC 350, Goodwill and Intangible Assets; IFRS-3R, Business Combinations; and IAS 38, Accounting for Intangible Assets) are inefficient and create potentially harmful psychological biases. These regulations facilitate earnings management and money laundering, reduce competition within industries, and are likely to increase the incidence of fraud and misconduct. This article introduces a new goodwill/intangibles disclosure/accounting model that can reduce the incidence of fraud, information asymmetry, moral hazard, adverse selection, and inaccuracy. The article also introduces new economic psychological theories that can explain fraud, misconduct, and non-compliance arising from the implementation of the goodwill/intangibles accounting rules.


Michael I.C. Nwogugu
Address: Enugu, Enugu State, Nigeria. Emails: mcn2225@aol.com; mcn111@juno.com. Phone: 234-909-606-8162.

Dimitri Linden
University of Leuven, Belgium
Article

Another Type of Deficit?

Human Rights, Corporate Social Responsibility, and the Shaping of the European Union’s Linkage Strategy

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 4 2014
Keywords human rights, corporate social responsibility, linkage strategy
Authors Aurora Voiculescu
AbstractAuthor's information

    This article engages with the European Union’s continuing strategy, in the context of the economic crisis, of addressing the human rights deficit of the current economic model by promoting a multifarious normative linkage between the economic, market-driven sphere and the human rights-anchored social sphere. The article looks into issues of normativity associated with the EU linkage agenda and interrogates some of its institutional and conceptual elements. It contends that, while the linkage discourse depends on a multitude of actors and factors, the EU encompasses a number of features that – by entropy as much as by design – facilitate an interrogation of the normative set-up that currently holds between human rights and the market mechanisms. The first part of the article addresses the linkage or ‘trade and’ debate that carries distinct nuances within contemporary international economic law. In the second part, the potential as well as the challenges brought about by the EU as a socio-political entity highlight the bringing together of competing normative issues. Lastly, the article considers the EU conceptual inroads in developing the necessary tools for consolidating and addressing the linkage agenda. Through this analysis, the article highlights an essential, dynamic nexus and a search for normative synchronisation between the economic development model and the social model. It is argued that coupling this nexus with a conceptual rethinking can increase the chances of matching the so far rhetorical persuasiveness of the linkage discourse with the so far elusive conceptual coherence and policy consistency.


Aurora Voiculescu
Westminster International Law and Theory Centre, University of Westminster, London, United Kingdom. A first draft of this paper was presented at the workshop organised by the Centre for the Law of EU External Relations (CLEER) ‘Linking trade and non-commercial interests: the EU as a global role model?’, on 9 November 2012 at the TMC Asser Institute, The Hague. I am very grateful to the workshop participants as well as to Tamara Takacs, Andrea Ott, and Angelos Dimopoulos for the very insightful comments that helped me develop the paper further. Of course, all remaining mistakes are entirely mine.
Article

Access_open The Economics and Empirics of Tax Competition: A Survey and Lessons for the EU

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 1 2014
Keywords tax competition, tax coordination, European Union, fiscal federalism
Authors Thushyanthan Baskaran Ph.D. and Mariana Lopes da Fonseca
AbstractAuthor's information

    We survey the theoretical and empirical literature on local and international tax competition in Economics. On the basis of this survey, we discuss whether EU countries should harmonise tax policies to prevent a race to the bottom. Much of the evidence suggests that tax competition does not lead to significant reductions in tax revenues. Therefore, we conclude that tax coordination is in all likelihood unnecessary to prevent inefficiently low levels of taxation in the EU. But since the evidence against the adverse effects of tax competition is not unambiguous, we also discuss whether intergovernmental transfers might be a less invasive means than outright tax harmonisation to prevent a race to the bottom.


Thushyanthan Baskaran Ph.D.
University of Goettingen, Germany.

Mariana Lopes da Fonseca
University of Goettingen, Germany.
Article

Access_open Tax Competition within the European Union – Is the CCCTB Directive a Solution?

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 1 2014
Keywords tax competition, tax planning, European Union, Common Consolidated Corporate Tax Base, factor manipulation
Authors Maarten de Wilde LL.M
AbstractAuthor's information

    The author addresses the phenomenon of taxable profit-shifting operations undertaken by multinationals in response to countries competing for corporate tax bases within the European Union. The central question is whether this might be a relic of the past when the European Commission’s proposal for a Council Directive on a Common Consolidated Corporate Tax Base sees the light of day. Or would the EU-wide corporate tax system provide incentives for multinationals to pursue artificial tax base-shifting practices within the EU, potentially invigorating the risk of undue governmental tax competition responses? The author’s tentative answer on the potential for artificial base shifting and undue tax competition is in the affirmative. Today, the issue of harmful tax competition within the EU seems to have been pushed back as a result of the soft law approaches that were initiated in the late 1990s and early 2000s. But things might change if the CCCTB proposal as currently drafted enters into force. There may be a risk that substantial parts of the EU tax base would instantly become mobile as of that day. As the EU Member States at that time seem to have only a single tool available to respond to this – the tax rate – that may perhaps initiate an undesirable race for the EU tax base, at least theoretically.


Maarten de Wilde LL.M
LL.M, Researcher/lecturer, Erasmus University Rotterdam (<dewilde@law.eur.nl>), lecturer, University of Amsterdam, tax lawyer, Loyens & Loeff NV, Rotterdam, the Netherlands. This article was written as part of the Erasmus School of Law research programme on ‘Fiscal Autonomy and Its Boundaries’. The author wishes to thank the anonymous reviewers for their constructive comments on an earlier draft of this article.
Article

Access_open Company Tax Integration in the European Union during Economic Crisis – Why and How?

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 1 2014
Keywords company tax harmonisation, EU law, Internal Market, taxation policies
Authors Anna Sting LL.M
AbstractAuthor's information

    Company tax integration in the EU is yet to be realised. This article first outlines the main benefits of company tax integration for the Economic and Monetary Union, and also discusses the main legal obstacles the EU Treaties pose for harmonisation of company tax. The main problem identified is the unanimity requirement in the legal basis of Article 115 TFEU. As this requirement is currently not feasible in the political climate of the debt crisis, this article assesses possible reasons for and ways to further fiscal integration. It considers Treaty change, enhanced cooperation, soft law approaches and also indirect harmonisation through the new system of economic governance. Eventually, a possible non-EU option is considered. However, this article recommends making use of the current EU law framework, such as soft law approaches and the system of the new economic governance to achieve a more subtle and less intrusive tax harmonisation, or instead a Treaty change that would legitimately enhance and further economic integration in the field of taxation.


Anna Sting LL.M
PhD Candidate at the Department of International and European Union Law, Erasmus University Rotterdam. The author would like to thank the organisers of the seminar on Company Tax Integration in the European Union, as well as the participants of the seminar of 11 June 2013 for their comments, as well as Prof. Fabian Amtenbrink for comments on an earlier draft of this paper.
Article

Access_open The Effect of 'Excessive’ Tax Planning and Tax Setting on Welfare: Action Needed?

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 1 2014
Keywords tax planning, optimal taxation, tax competition, corporate taxation
Authors Hendrik Vrijburg Ph.D.
AbstractAuthor's information

    This article presents a literature review on the welfare effects of excessive company taxation practices. The article intends to structure the debate by sketching a conceptual framework of thought for the topic under consideration and places the existing literature within this framework. The article ends with a thought-provoking discussion between two extreme papers in the literature, one against tax planning and one in favour. The discussion is concluded by identifying the fundamental differences in assumptions underlying both approaches.


Hendrik Vrijburg Ph.D.
Assistant Professor, Erasmus School of Economics, Erasmus University Rotterdam and Tinbergen Institute, PO Box 1738, 3000 DR Rotterdam, The Netherlands, Phone: +31-10-408-1485, Fax: +31-10-408-9031, email: vrijburg@ese.eur.nl.
Article

Access_open Microfinance: Dreams and Reality

Journal The Dovenschmidt Quarterly, Issue 2 2013
Keywords microfinance, economic development, microfinance success, Institutions, law and economics
Authors Katherine Helen Mary Hunt
AbstractAuthor's information

    Microfinance is an area of research whose popularity is reflected by the unique potential for wide-ranging socioeconomic outcomes that support political goals unmatched by alternative avenues for financial support. However, despite the large amounts of financial resources funding microfinance across the world, and glorious potential economic benefits, there is no consensus regarding the success or failure of microfinance in achieving socioeconomic political goals. This article examines the empirical literature on microfinance to establish where microfinance has developed from, the organization of microfinance institutions (MFIs), the success or failure of microfinance, and future research methodological possibilities. It has been found that the success or failure of microfinance depends on the benchmarks to which it is measured. From a social empowerment perspective, microfinance success has been observed. However, from an economic development perspective the results are equivocal. The success of microfinance is related to the mission of DQ because of the interdisciplinary approach to research and the effects of microfinance across social and economic fields. Further, microfinance continues to be an avenue for the practical realization of corporate social responsibility (CSR) organizational goals and thus it is of relevance to evaluate success in this industry to ensure the efficient and continued achievement of political goals.


Katherine Helen Mary Hunt
Erasmus University Rotterdam, Rotterdam Institute of Law and Economics.
Article

Access_open Law and China’s Economic Growth

A Macroeconomic Perspective

Journal The Dovenschmidt Quarterly, Issue 1 2012
Keywords China, economic imbalance, factor markets, economic policies, law and regulations
Authors Guangdong Xu
AbstractAuthor's information

    China is now stuck in an investment-driven growth pattern that has helped it achieve excessive economic growth in the short run but at the cost of environmental quality, ordinary citizens’ welfare, and long-term economic health. Two main factors can be identified as responsible for the formation and continuation of the current growth pattern. One is economic policy, especially fiscal and financial policies, which contribute to the decline in household consumption by depressing household disposable income and reducing social services provided by the government. The other is the law and regulations that the government has used to subsidize investment and production by distorting factor markets, including markets for capital, land, labor, energy, and environment. A systematic legal and institutional reform whose purpose is to liberalize factor markets is therefore required to rebalance China’s economy.


Guangdong Xu
China University of Political Science and Law.

Günter Müller Stewens
Professor of Management and Organization at the University of St. Gallen; Managing Director of the Institute of Management.

Jens Drolshammer
Professor of Law, (Titularprofessor für Angloamerikanisches Recht und Rechtsgeschäftsplanung und -gestaltung), University of St. Gallen, Switzerland; Co-Founder and President of the Commission and Lecturer on Law, Master of European and International Business Law (M.B.L.-HSG) and Master of International Management Programs at St. Gallen University; Partner, Homburger Rechtsanwälte, Zürich, Switzerland; Visiting Scholar and Fellow, Harvard Law School (Spring 1999).
Article

The ECJ Ruling in Cartesio and Its Consequences on the Right of Establishment and Corporate Mobility in the European Union

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 3-4 2010
Keywords Cartesio, right of establishment, Corporate mobility
Authors Prof. dr.sc. Siniša Petrović and Tomislav Jakšić
AbstractAuthor's information

    Before Cartesio, the case law of the European Court of Justice on freedom of establishment mainly considered company immigration situations, i.e. legal entities moving into another Member State. Cartesio is the first major ruling on company emigration since the 1988 decision in Daily Mail. Consequently, much was expected from Cartesio, notably that it would confirm a company’s right to directly invoke its freedom of establishment in emigration scenarios. However, this was not the case. Although Cartesio introduced some new concepts into the freedom of establishment case law like the concept of company conversion, the freedom of establishment actually took a step backward. This effectively resulted in almost complete disregard of the freedom of establishment in emigration situations - unlike in immigration situations. This partial denial of freedom of establishment, one of the fundamental freedoms of Community law, would seem urge the continuation of work on the new 14th Company Law Directive. In light of the current ECJ case law, only a legislative approach would seem suitable to guarantee non-discrimination in the ongoing regulatory competition between Member States which apply the registered seat theory and those which apply the administrative (real) seat theory.


Prof. dr.sc. Siniša Petrović
Prof. dr. sc. Siniša Petrović is a full professor at the Faculty of Law of the University of Zagreb.

Tomislav Jakšić
Tomislav Jakšić is a Junior Researcher at the Faculty of Law of the University of Zagreb.
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