Learning and the Disappearing Association between Governance and Returns

During the period 1991-1999, stock returns were correlated with the G-Index based on twenty-four governance provisions (Gompers, Ishii, and Metrick (2003)) and the E-Index based on
the six provisions that matter most (Bebchuk, Cohen, and Ferrell (2009)). This correlation, however, did not persist during the subsequent period 2000-2008. We provide evidence that both the identified correlation and its subsequent disappearance were due to market participants’ gradually learning to appreciate the difference between firms scoring well and poorly on the governance indices.