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Inheritance Law and Investment in Family Firms

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  • Andrew Ellul
  • Marco Pagano
  • Fausto Panunzi

Abstract

Entrepreneurs may be legally bound to bequeath a minimal stake to noncontrolling heirs. The size of this stake can reduce investment in family firms, by reducing the future income they can pledge to external financiers. Using a purpose-built indicator of the permissiveness of inheritance law and data for 10,004 firms from 38 countries in 1990-2006, we find that stricter inheritance law is associated with lower investment in family firms but does not affect investment in nonfamily firms. Moreover, as the model predicts, inheritance law affects investment only in family firms that experience a succession. (JEL G31, G32, K22, L26, O17).

Suggested Citation

  • Andrew Ellul & Marco Pagano & Fausto Panunzi, 2010. "Inheritance Law and Investment in Family Firms," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(5), pages 2414-2450, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:100:y:2010:i:5:p:2414-50
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    JEL classification:

    • G32 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Financing Policy; Financial Risk and Risk Management; Capital and Ownership Structure; Value of Firms; Goodwill

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