Corporate governance and expected stock returns: Evidence from Germany

European Financial Management | 06/2004


Recent empirical work shows evidence for higher valuation of firms in countries with a better legal environment. We investigate whether differences in the quality of firm‐level corporate governance also help to explain firm performance in a cross‐section of companies within a single jurisdiction. Constructing a broad corporate governance rating (CGR) for German public firms, we document a positive relationship between governance practices and firm valuation. There is also evidence that expected stock returns are negatively correlated with firm‐level corporate governance, if dividend yields are used as proxies for the cost of capital. An investment strategy that bought high‐CGR firms and shorted low‐CGR firms earned abnormal returns of around 12% on an annual basis during the sample period.