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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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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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Cited by:
  1. Marianna Belloc & Ugo Pagano, 2009. "Politics-Business Interaction Paths," CESifo Working Paper Series 2883, CESifo Group Munich.
  2. Oriana Bandiera & Luigi Guiso & Andrea Prat & Raffaella Sadun, 2012. "Matching Firms, Managers, and Incentives," CEP Discussion Papers dp1144, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  3. Neng Wang & Rui Albuquerque, 2005. "Agency Conflicts, Investment, and Asset Pricing," Computing in Economics and Finance 2005 351, Society for Computational Economics.
  4. Laurent Bach & Nicolas Serrano-Velarde, 2009. "The Power of Dynastic Commitment," Working Papers 0924, Oxford University Centre for Business Taxation.
  5. 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).

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