Regulatory Regime Change in World Financial Markets: The Case of Sarbanes-Oxley

This proposal addresses Strand 2.1 of the programme objectives; in particular the third set of questions on the political economy aspects of cross-country variation in institutional, regulatory and legal arrangements. It does so through the prism of regulatory efforts to deal with malfeasance and misfeasance in financial markets. Specifically, it focuses on the privileged position of the regulatory regime of the United States on global markets and its interaction with and impact on national forms of economic governance. We achieve this by examining the causes and consequences of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (2002) on corporate liability. Introduced as a response to domestic crisis, Sarbanes-Oxley has had global consequences. Our three-year project examines those consequences in a range of systematically important countries. First, we characterise the legislative and policy response to corporate governance scandals and evaluate their impact on the regulatory landscape in the US. Second, we look at the impact of these regulatory responses on other states at different stages of socio-economic development. At the requested levels of funding, these would include the United Kingdom, South Africa, Turkey and South Korea. Third, we assess the role of local, cultural, institutional and political factors in mediating the subsequent response in these states, together with the influence of market and US governmental pressure. Fourth, we assess the current state of global regulatory practice, discuss future challenges and evaluate possible responses to these challenges.

Working Papers:

Charting an Icarian Flightpath: The Implications of the Qantas Deal Collapse
Justin O'Brien


Journals, seminar papers and other publications:

2006. ‘Accounting and Accountability Failure: The Impact of the Kaplan Ruling on Corporate Enforcement Strategies,’ Compliance and Regulatory Journal 1 (1): 28-38.

2006. ‘Securing Corporate Accountability: The Efficacy and Pitfalls of Pre-Trial Diversion,’ Australian Journal of Corporate Law 19 (2): 161-181.

2006. ‘Ethics and Corporate Governance: Banking on Scandal,’ International Journal of Business Governance and Ethics 2 (1): 83-96.

2005. ‘Trading at the Frontier: Global Markets, Regulatory Enforcement and the Dynamics of Corporate Crime,’ Australian Journal of Corporate Law 18 (3): 201-219.

2006. The Sisyphean Tragedy (and Absurdity) of Corporate and Capital Market Governance Reform, Govnet Conference, Australian National University, Canberra 30 November.

2006. Do We Need Another Sarbanes-Oxley? Australasian Compliance Institute Annual Conference, Sydney 27 October.

Demirag, Istemi, 2006, 'US Financial Regulatory Change: The Case of the Californian Energy Crisis,' Journal of Banking Regulation 7 (1/2), pp. 75-94 (With Woodrow W. Clark)

O'Brien, Justin, 2006, 'Recruiting Ethics - Citigroup, Corporate Governance and the Institutional of Compliance,' in Whates, P. (ed), Business Ethics and the 21st Century Organisation, London, British Standards Institution, 40-57.

O'Brien, Justin, 2006, 'Securing Corporate Accountability or Bypassing Justice: The Efficacy and Pitfalls of Pre-Trial Diversion,' Australian Journal of Corporate Law 19 (2), pp. 161-181.
O'Brien, J. 2006. Redesigning Financial Regulation, The Politics of Enforcement (Chichester: John Wiley & Sons.)

O'Brien, J. 2006. 'Accounting and Accountability Failure: The Impact of the Kaplan Ruling on Corporate Enforcement Strategies', Compliance and Regulatory Journal 1 (December), pp 28-38.

Baker, Andrew, 2005, IPE, Corporate Governance and the New Politics of Financialisation: Issues Raised by Sarbanes-Oxley, presented at the BISA conference, St. Andrews, December 2005.

O'Brien, Justin, 2005, 'The Efficacy of Pre-Trial Diversion: Ethics, the Professions and the Market in the Aftermath of Corporate Scandal,' presented at the GovNet Conference, Melbourne, November 2005.

O'Brien, Justin, 2005, The Politics of Symbolism: Sarbanes-Oxley and the Dynamics of Financial Governance, Working Paper.

O'Brien, Justin, 2005, 'Trading at the Frontier: Global Markets, Regulatory Enforcement and the Dynamics of Corporate Crime,' Australian Journal of Corporate Law, 18, 201-19.

O'Brien, Justin, 2005, 'The Politics of Enforcement: Eliot Spitzer, State Federal Relations and the Redesign of Financial Regulation,' Publius, The Journal of Federalism 35 (Summer) 449-466.

Dr Justin O'Brien
Dr I Demirag
Dr S Andreasson
Dr A Baker
Dr S Wheeler
Dr M Dubnick
Dr J Barry
Queen's University, Belfast

Dr Justin O'Brien
Institute of Governance, Public Policy and Social Research
Queen's University, Belfast
101 Botanic Avenue

Tel: 02890 972550

Duration of Research:
March 2005 - February 2008