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The Principle of Proportionality

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  • Bennedsen, Morten

    (Department of Economics, Copenhagen Business School)

  • Meisner, Kasper, Nielsen

    (Department of Economics, Copenhagen Business School)

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    Abstract

    Recent policy initiatives within the harmonization of European company laws have promoted a so-called "principle of proportionality" through proposals that regulate mechanisms opposing a proportional distribution of ownership and control. We scrutinize the foundation for these initiatives by analyzing the use of instruments to separate ownership from control across legal regimes in a sample of over 4,000 publicly traded firms from 14 Western European countries. First, we confirm the negative impact on firm value from disproportional ownership structures previously established in a sample of Asian firms by Claessens et al. (2002). Second, we show that dual class shares have a larger and more significant negative effect on firm value than pyramids and cross holdings. Third, we find that the impact of disproportionality and the underlying instruments is inversely related to the level of investor protection. Thus, dual class shares and pyramids substitute legal protection in countries with inadequate investor protection. Fourth, we find no evidence of a significant effect of disproportionality instruments on earnings performance. Finally, we discuss policy implications of these findings in relationship to the process of harmonization of the European capital markets.

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    File URL: http://ir.lib.cbs.dk/download/ISBN/x656504098.pdf
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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Copenhagen Business School, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 22-2005.

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    Length: 50 pages
    Date of creation: 14 Aug 2006
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:hhs:cbsnow:2005_022

    Contact details of provider:
    Postal: Department of Economics, Copenhagen Business School, Solbjerg Plads 3 C, 5. sal, DK-2000 Frederiksberg, Denmark
    Phone: 38 15 25 75
    Fax: 38 15 34 99
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    Web page: http://www.cbs.dk/departments/econ/
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    Related research

    Keywords: Ownership Structure; Dual Class Shares; Pyramids; EU company;

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    1. Grossman, Sanford J. & Hart, Oliver D., 1988. "One share-one vote and the market for corporate control," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 20(1-2), pages 175-202, January.
    2. Rafael La Porta & Florencio Lopez-de-Silanes & Andrei Shleifer & Robert Vishny, 1999. "Investor Protection and Corporate Valuation," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1882, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
    3. Rafael La Porta & Florencio Lopez-De-Silanes & Andrei Shleifer, 1999. "Corporate Ownership Around the World," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 54(2), pages 471-517, 04.
    4. Andrei Shleifer & Robert W. Vishny, 1996. "A Survey of Corporate Governance," NBER Working Papers 5554, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Rafael LaPorta & Florencio Lopez-de-Silanes & Andrei Shleifer & Robert Vishny, . "Investor Protection and Corporate Governance," Working Paper 19455, Harvard University OpenScholar.
    6. Rafael LaPorta & Florencio Lopez-de-Silanes & Andrei Shleifer & Robert W. Vishny, . "Law and Finance," Working Paper 19451, Harvard University OpenScholar.
    7. Zingales, Luigi, 1995. "What Determines the Value of Corporate Votes?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 110(4), pages 1047-73, November.
    8. Demsetz, Harold & Lehn, Kenneth, 1985. "The Structure of Corporate Ownership: Causes and Consequences," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 93(6), pages 1155-77, December.
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    11. Faccio, Mara & Lang, Larry H. P., 2002. "The ultimate ownership of Western European corporations," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 65(3), pages 365-395, September.
    12. Cronqvist, Henrik & Nilsson, Mattias, 2003. "Agency Costs of Controlling Minority Shareholders," Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, Cambridge University Press, vol. 38(04), pages 695-719, December.
    13. Randall Morck & Andrei Shleifer & Robert W. Vishny, 1986. "Management Ownership and Corporate Performance: An Empirical Analysis," NBER Working Papers 2055, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    14. Stijn Claessens & Simeon Djankov & Joseph P. H. Fan & Larry H. P. Lang, 2002. "Disentangling the Incentive and Entrenchment Effects of Large Shareholdings," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 57(6), pages 2741-2771, December.
    15. Bennedsen, Morten & Wolfenzon, Daniel, 2000. "The balance of power in closely held corporations," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 58(1-2), pages 113-139.
    16. Marco Becht & Ekkehart Boehmer, 2001. "Ownership and voting power in Germany," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/13334, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
    17. Maury, Benjamin & Pajuste, Anete, 2005. "Multiple large shareholders and firm value," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 29(7), pages 1813-1834, July.
    18. Zingales, Luigi, 1994. "The Value of the Voting Right: A Study of the Milan Stock Exchange Experience," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 7(1), pages 125-48.
    19. Morten Bennedsen & Kasper Nielsen, 2004. "The Impact of a Break-Through Rule on European Firms," European Journal of Law and Economics, Springer, vol. 17(3), pages 259-283, May.
    20. Paul A. Gompers & Joy Ishii & Andrew Metrick, 2004. "Incentives vs. Control: An Analysis of U.S. Dual-Class Companies," NBER Working Papers 10240, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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