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Family Firms, Paternalism, and Labor Relations

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  • Holger M. Mueller
  • Thomas Philippon

Abstract

Using firm-, industry-, and country-level data, we document a link between family ownership and labor relations. Across countries, we find that family ownership is relatively more prevalent in countries in which labor relations are difficult, consistent with firm-level evidence suggesting that family firms are particularly effective at coping with difficult labor relations. Our cross-country results are robust to controlling for minority shareholder protection and various other potential determinants of family ownership. Our results also hold if we use strike data from the 1960s to predict cross-country variation in family ownership thirty years later. We address causality in two ways. First, we instrument our measure of the quality of labor relations using 'Labor Origin', a variable describing the extent to which the emerging European liberal states in the 18th and 19th centuries confronted guilds and labor organizations. Second, making use of within-country variation at the industry level, we show that - controlling for industry and country fixed effects - industries that are more labor dependent have relatively more family ownership in countries with worse labor relations.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 12739.

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Date of creation: Dec 2006
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Publication status: published as Mueller, Holger and Thomas Philippn. "Family Firms and Labor Relations." American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics 3 (2001): 218-245.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:12739

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  1. Mike Burkart & Fausto Panunzi & Andrei Shleifer, 2002. "Family Firms," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1944, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
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  7. Olivier Blanchard & Thomas Philippon, 2004. "The Quality of Labor Relations and Unemployment," NBER Working Papers 10590, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Pagano, Marco & Volpin, Paolo, 2001. "The Political Economy of Corporate Governance," CEPR Discussion Papers 2682, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  9. Shleifer, Andrei & Wolfenzon, Daniel, 2002. "Investor protection and equity markets," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 66(1), pages 3-27, October.
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  13. Raymond Fisman, 2001. "Estimating the Value of Political Connections," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(4), pages 1095-1102, September.
  14. Bertrand, Marianne & Mullainathan, Sendhil, 2003. "Enjoying the Quiet Life? Corporate Governance and Managerial Preferences," Scholarly Articles 3429713, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  15. Claessens, Stijn & Djankov, Simeon & Lang, Larry H. P., 2000. "The separation of ownership and control in East Asian Corporations," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 58(1-2), pages 81-112.
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  17. 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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Cited by:
  1. Albuquerque, Rui & Wang, Neng, 2005. "Agency Conflicts, Investment and Asset Pricing," CEPR Discussion Papers 4955, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. Bandiera, Oriana & Guiso, Luigi & Prat, Andrea & Sadun, Raffaella, 2009. "Matching Firms, Managers, and Incentives," CEPR Discussion Papers 7207, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  3. Marianna Belloc & Ugo Pagano, 2009. "Politics-Business Interaction Paths," CESifo Working Paper Series 2883, CESifo Group Munich.
  4. Belloc, Marianna & Pagano, Ugo, 2009. "Co-evolution of politics and corporate governance," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 29(2), pages 106-114, June.
  5. Muravyev, Alexander & Berezinets, Irina & Ilina, Yulia, 2012. "Корпоративные Конфликты И Политика Фирм В Области Занятости И Заработной Платы
    [Corporate Governance Conflicts and Employment and
    ," MPRA Paper 40215, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  6. Siebert, W. Stanley & Peng, Fei & Maimaiti, Yasheng, 2011. "HRM Practices and Performance of Family-Run Workplaces: Evidence from the 2004 WERS," IZA Discussion Papers 5899, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  7. Laurent Bach & Nicolas Serrano-Velarde, 2009. "The Power of Dynastic Commitment," Working Papers 0924, Oxford University Centre for Business Taxation.

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