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Corporate Ownership Around the World

  • Rafael La Porta

    (Harvard University)

  • Florencio Lopez-De-Silanes

    (Harvard University)

  • Andrei Shleifer

    (Harvard University)

We use data on ownership structures of large corporations in 27 wealthy economies to identify the ultimate controlling shareholders of these firms. We find that, except in economies with very good shareholder protection, relatively few of these firms are widely held, in contrast to Berle and Means's image of ownership of the modern corporation. Rather, these firms are typically controlled by families or the State. Equity control by financial institutions is far less common. The controlling shareholders typically have power over firms significantly in excess of their cash flow rights, primarily through the use of pyramids and participation in management. Copyright The American Finance Association 1999.

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Article provided by American Finance Association in its journal The Journal of Finance.

Volume (Year): 54 (1999)
Issue (Month): 2 (04)
Pages: 471-517

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Handle: RePEc:bla:jfinan:v:54:y:1999:i:2:p:471-517
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  1. Rafael La Porta & Florencio Lopez-de-Silanes & Andrei Shleifer & Robert W. Vishny, 2000. "Agency Problems and Dividend Policies around the World," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 55(1), pages 1-33, 02.
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  4. Rafael LaPorta & Florencio Lopez-de-Silanes & Andrei Shleifer & Robert W. Vishny, . "Legal Determinants of External Finance," Working Paper 19443, Harvard University OpenScholar.
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  9. 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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  15. Morck, Randall & Shleifer, Andrei & Vishny, Robert W., 1988. "Management ownership and market valuation : An empirical analysis," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 20(1-2), pages 293-315, January.
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  17. Bebchuk, Lucian Arye, 1994. "Efficient and Inefficient Sales of Corporate Control," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 109(4), pages 957-93, November.
  18. Kang, Jun-Koo & Shivdasani, Anil, 1995. "Firm performance, corporate governance, and top executive turnover in Japan," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 38(1), pages 29-58, May.
  19. Jensen, Michael C. & Meckling, William H., 1976. "Theory of the firm: Managerial behavior, agency costs and ownership structure," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 3(4), pages 305-360, October.
  20. Sanford J. Grossman & Oliver D. Hart, 1987. "One Share/One Vote and The Market for Corporate Control," Working papers 440, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  21. Gary Gorton & Frank A. Schmid, 1996. "Universal Banking and the Performance of German Firms," NBER Working Papers 5453, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  22. Erik Berglof, 1997. "Reforming corporate governance: redirecting the European agenda," Economic Policy, CEPR;CES;MSH, vol. 12(24), pages 91-123, 04.
  23. Holderness, Clifford G. & Sheehan, Dennis P., 1988. "The role of majority shareholders in publicly held corporations : An exploratory analysis," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 20(1-2), pages 317-346, January.
  24. Shleifer, Andrei & Vishny, Robert W, 1994. "Politicians and Firms," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 109(4), pages 995-1025, November.
  25. Demsetz, Harold, 1983. "The Structure of Ownership and the Theory of the Firm," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 26(2), pages 375-90, June.
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