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Corporate Ownership in France: The Importance of History

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  • Antoin E. Murphy
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    Abstract

    This paper attempts to show the importance of history in influencing the structure of corporate ownership in France. The strong concentration of family ownership in France is traced to historical weaknesses in the money and capital markets that forced families to have recourse to self-financing. The weaknesses in the money and capital markets were greatly influenced by two eighteenth century financial traumas arising from John Law's Mississippi System (1716-20) and the financing of the French Revolution through the issue of the assignats in the 1790s.These financial traumas delayed significantly the emergence of banks and the capital market. Further historical factors influencing French corporate ownership were the changes in the inheritance law system at the start of the nineteenth century and, more recently, the emphasis on a pay-as-you-go pension system.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 10716.

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    Date of creation: Aug 2004
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    Publication status: published as Morck, Randall K. (ed.) A History of Corporate Governance around the World: Family Business Groups to Professional Managers A National Bureau of Economic Research Conference Report. Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press, 2005.
    Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:10716

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    1. White, Eugene Nelson, 1989. "Was There a Solution to the Ancien Régime's Financial Dilemma?," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge University Press, vol. 49(03), pages 545-568, September.
    2. Murphy, Antoin E., 1997. "John Law: Economic Theorist and Policy-maker," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, Oxford University Press, number 9780198286493, October.
    3. Sraer, David & Thesmar, David, 2004. "Performance and Behaviour of Family Firms: Evidence from the French Stock Market," CEPR Discussion Papers, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers 4520, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    4. Ronald C. Anderson & David M. Reeb, 2003. "Founding-Family Ownership and Firm Performance: Evidence from the S&P 500," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, American Finance Association, vol. 58(3), pages 1301-1327, 06.
    5. Marco Becht & Fabrizio Barca, 2001. "The control of corporate Europe," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/13302, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
    6. Paul M. Healy & Krishna G. Palepu, 2003. "The Fall of Enron," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 17(2), pages 3-26, Spring.
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    Cited by:
    1. Prabirjit Sarkar, 2008. "Do the English Legal Origin Countries have more dispersed Share Ownership and more developed financial Systems?," ESRC Centre for Business Research - Working Papers, ESRC Centre for Business Research wp375, ESRC Centre for Business Research.
    2. Eduardo Siandra, 2005. "Uruguay Capital Market: Law-in-the-books or Law-in-action?," Documentos de Trabajo (working papers), Department of Economics - dECON 0205, Department of Economics - dECON.

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