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John C. Coffee Jr. John C. Coffee Jr.

For some time, a debate has continued between critics of hedge fund activism, who believe such activists are biased by an excessive focus on the “short-term,” and these activists (and their academic supporters), who reply that the “short-term” is an undefined term or, after Keynes, that “in the long-run, we are all dead.” Although I sympathize with the former side in this debate (and believe that hedge fund competition and their compensation formulas do lead to a short-term focus), I must concede that this debate has largely deteriorated into a name-calling contest with little new content. A better explanation of activist hedge fund behavior is needed, and I have attempted to supply one in an article just posted on SSRN: Coffee, “The Future of Disclosure: ESG, Common Ownership, and Systematic Risk (available at https://ssrn.com/abstract_id= 3615327), which is partially summarized in this column.

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