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Family Values or Crony Capitalism?

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  • James Harold

    (Princeton University)

Abstract

Family firms are very prominent in many parts of the world, including in many of the most dynamic emerging markets. They are often thought to be associated with poor corporate and political governance. This article examines the debate about their durability and efficiency, using material drawn from the long experience of continental Europe and sketches out an ideal type of the family, in which there is a historical experience of entrepreneurship, a brand, and a network built around family enterprise. It then tests various common explanations for the prevalence of family firms, including Roman law versus common law traditions, tax incentives, share voting privileges, and inheritance law; and finds that each applies only in a quite particular historical epoch. Finally, the article suggests that family businesses offer advantages that are most apparent at times of shocks and discontinuities, and that they are thus a response to uneven development.

Suggested Citation

  • James Harold, 2008. "Family Values or Crony Capitalism?," Capitalism and Society, De Gruyter, vol. 3(1), pages 1-30, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:bpj:capsoc:v:3:y:2008:i:1:n:5
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Barca, Fabrizio & Becht, Marco (ed.), 2001. "The Control of Corporate Europe," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199247424.
    2. Lucian Arye Bebchuk, 1999. "A Rent-Protection Theory of Corporate Ownership and Control," NBER Working Papers 7203, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Mike Burkart & Fausto Panunzi & Andrei Shleifer, 2003. "Family Firms," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 58(5), pages 2167-2202, October.
    4. La Porta, Rafael & Lopez-de-Silanes, Florencio & Shleifer, Andrei & Vishny, Robert, 2000. "Investor protection and corporate governance," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 58(1-2), pages 3-27.
    5. Krueger, Anne O, 1974. "The Political Economy of the Rent-Seeking Society," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 64(3), pages 291-303, June.
    6. Faccio, Mara & Lang, Larry H. P., 2002. "The ultimate ownership of Western European corporations," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 65(3), pages 365-395, September.
    7. Johnson, Simon & Mitton, Todd, 2003. "Cronyism and capital controls: evidence from Malaysia," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 67(2), pages 351-382, February.
    8. Ronald C. Anderson & David M. Reeb, 2003. "Founding-Family Ownership and Firm Performance: Evidence from the S&P 500," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 58(3), pages 1301-1327, June.
    9. Claessens, Stijn & Djankov, Simeon & Lang, Larry H. P., 2000. "The separation of ownership and control in East Asian Corporations," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 58(1-2), pages 81-112.
    10. Randall Morck, 2003. "Why Some Double Taxation Might Make Sense: The Special Case of Inter-corporate Dividends," NBER Working Papers 9651, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    11. Marco Becht & Fabrizio Barca, 2001. "The control of corporate Europe," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/13302, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
    12. repec:hrv:faseco:30747196 is not listed on IDEAS
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    Cited by:

    1. Paul G. Mahoney, 2012. "The Public Utility Pyramids," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 41(1), pages 37-66.
    2. Lidia Mannarino & Valeria Pupo & Fernanda Ricotta, 2016. "Family Firms And Productivity: The Role Of Institutional Quality," Working Papers 201605, Università della Calabria, Dipartimento di Economia, Statistica e Finanza "Giovanni Anania" - DESF.
    3. Sidney Leung & Bertrand Horwitz, 2010. "Corporate governance and firm value during a financial crisis," Review of Quantitative Finance and Accounting, Springer, vol. 34(4), pages 459-481, May.

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