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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, 1998. "Agency Problems and Dividend Policies Around the World," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1839, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
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  23. Stulz, ReneM., 1988. "Managerial control of voting rights : Financing policies and the market for corporate control," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 20(1-2), pages 25-54, January.
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  25. Gary Gorton & Frank A. Schmid, 1996. "Universal Banking and the Performance of German Firms," NBER Working Papers 5453, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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