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Fall 2023 Course

Stakeholder Capitalism

Prerequisites:There are no prerequisites for the course. However, it is recommended that students either (a) have taken or are taking concurrently the Corporations course at HLS, (b) have taken some course that considers corporations or business associations at another law school in the US or abroad, or (c) have had prior experience that exposed them to corporate law, corporate governance, or corporate social responsibility issues. Students who have questions regarding whether the course would be suitable for them should feel free to contact the instructors.

Exam Type: No Exam

There have been growing concerns about the effects that corporations have on their stakeholders – non-shareholder constituencies such as employees, business partners, customers, communities, and the environment. The growth of these concerns has been accompanied by increasing support for “stakeholder capitalism” – that is, a system in which both corporate leaders and institutional investors would seek to protect the interests of stakeholders and not only those of shareholders. Influenced by such views, many companies have been devoting attention to the adoption of “stakeholderist” practices, and many institutional investors have been considering how to incorporate ESG considerations into their investment and stewardship decisions.

This course aims at giving students a sense of the issues involved in current debates and practices regarding stakeholder capitalism. The course will meet for 6 two-hour sessions, which will be concentrated during the first two months of the fall semester. Some of the sessions will feature outside speakers offering their perspectives on the subject.

There will be no examination. Instead, students will be asked to submit, before sessions, a brief memo on the assigned readings; grades will be based on these memos (primarily) and on participation in class discussion.