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Expropriation of minority shareholders : evidence from East Asia

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  • Claessens, Stijn
  • Djankov, Simeon
  • Joseph P. H. Fan
  • Lang, Larry H. P.

Abstract

As many East Asian countries plunged into economic decline, the structure of concentrated ownership and associated corporate governance, along with weak corporate performance, have been blamed for the crisis. There is little empirical evidence, however, of the nature of ownership structures in East Asia and their relationship to corporate performance in the typical East Asian environment (where inefficient judicial systems, and weak property and shareholder rights are common). The authors examine evidence of the expropriation of minority shareholders for 2,658 corporations in nine East Asian countries in 1996. They distinguish control from cash-flow rights. They also distinguish between various types of ultimate owners, including family, state, widely held corporations, and widely held financial institutions. Higher cash-flow rights are associated with higher market values, consistent with Jensen and Meckling (1976). In contrast, deviations of control from cash-flow rights - through the use of dual-class shares, pyramiding, and cross-holdings - are associated with lower market values. This is especially true for corporations under family control and, in Japan, under the control of widely held financial institutions. They conclude that the risk of expropriation is the major principal-agent problem for large corporations, as suggested by La Porta and colleagues (1999). The degree to which certain ownership structures are associated with expropriation depends on country-specific circumstances. These may include the quality of banking systems, the legal and judicial protection of individual shareholders, and the degree of financial disclosures required.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 2088.

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Date of creation: 31 Mar 1999
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Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:2088

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Keywords: Small Scale Enterprise; Fiscal&Monetary Policy; Labor Policies; Economic Theory&Research; International Terrorism&Counterterrorism; Private Participation in Infrastructure; Microfinance; Economic Theory&Research; Fiscal&Monetary Policy; Small Scale Enterprise;

References

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  1. Rafael LaPorta & Florencio Lopez de-Silanes & Andrei Shleifer & Robert W. Vishny, 1997. "Legal Determinants of External Finance," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1788, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  2. Andrei Shleifer & Robert W. Vishny, 1996. "A Survey of Corporate Governance," NBER Working Papers 5554, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Barclay, Michael J. & Holderness, Clifford G., 1989. "Private benefits from control of public corporations," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 25(2), pages 371-395, December.
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  6. La Porta, Rafael & Lopez-de-Silanes, Florencio & Shleifer, Andrei & Vishny, Robert W., 1998. "Law and Finance," Scholarly Articles 3451310, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  7. Berger, Philip G. & Ofek, Eli, 1995. "Diversification's effect on firm value," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 37(1), pages 39-65, January.
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  17. Hoshi, Takeo & Kashyap, Anil & Scharfstein, David, 1990. "The role of banks in reducing the costs of financial distress in Japan," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(1), pages 67-88, September.
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  19. Bergstrom, Clas & Rydqvist, Kristian, 1990. "Ownership of equity in dual-class firms," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 14(2-3), pages 255-269, August.
  20. Raghuram G. Rajan & Luigi Zingales, 1998. "Which Capitalism? Lessons from the East Asian Crisis," CRSP working papers 486, Center for Research in Security Prices, Graduate School of Business, University of Chicago.
  21. Slovin, Myron B & Sushka, Marie E, 1997. " The Implications of Equity Issuance Decisions within a Parent-Subsidiary Governance Structure," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 52(2), pages 841-57, June.
  22. Kaplan, Steven N, 1994. "Top Executive Rewards and Firm Performance: A Comparison of Japan and the United States," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 102(3), pages 510-46, June.
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