Diane Del Guercio and Tracie Woidtke
Union and public pension funds, the most prolific institutional activists employing low-cost targeting methods, are often accused of pursuing private benefits. Extant literature finds that unions representing workers, as stakeholders, are not aligned with shareholders. Limiting shareholder power may mitigate “special interest” activism but can also exacerbate managerial agency problems. In two different settings, majority approved and withdrawn shareholder proposals, we examine and find supportive evidence that the director labor market as a corporate governance mechanism can selectively mitigate the negative influence that conflicted stakeholder-shareholder union funds have over firms without stifling all influence of low-cost activists.