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The Myth of Diffuse Ownership in the United States

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  • Clifford G. Holderness

Abstract

This article offers evidence on the ownership concentration at a representative sample of U.S. public firms. Ninety-six percent of these firms have blockholders; these blockholders in aggregate own an average 39% of the common stock. The ownership of U.S. firms is similar to and by some measures more concentrated than the ownership of firms in other countries. These findings challenge current thinking on a number of issues, ranging from the nature of the agency conflict in domestic corporations to the relationship between ownership concentration and legal protections for investors around the world. The Author 2007. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of The Society for Financial Studies. All rights reserved. For Permissions, please email: journals.permissions@oxfordjournals.org, Oxford University Press.

Suggested Citation

  • Clifford G. Holderness, 2009. "The Myth of Diffuse Ownership in the United States," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 22(4), pages 1377-1408, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:rfinst:v:22:y:2009:i:4:p:1377-1408
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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1093/rfs/hhm069
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    1. Chan, Louis K C & Hamao, Yasushi & Lakonishok, Josef, 1991. " Fundamentals and Stock Returns in Japan," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 46(5), pages 1739-1764, December.
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    4. Kang, Jun-Koo & Kim, Yong-Cheol & Park, Kyung-Joo & Stulz, René M., 1995. "An Analysis of the Wealth Effects of Japanese Offshore Dollar-Denominated Convertible and Warrant Bond Issues," Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, Cambridge University Press, vol. 30(02), pages 257-270, June.
    5. De Bondt, Werner F M & Thaler, Richard, 1985. " Does the Stock Market Overreact?," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 40(3), pages 793-805, July.
    6. Fama, Eugene F. & French, Kenneth R., 1993. "Common risk factors in the returns on stocks and bonds," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 33(1), pages 3-56, February.
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