IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

Performance and Behavior of Family Firms: Evidence from the French Stock Market


  • David Sraer
  • David Thesmar


This paper empirically documents the performance and behavior of family firms listed on the French stock exchange between 1994 and 2000. On the French stock market, approximately one third of the firms are widely held, whereas the remaining two thirds are family firms. We find that, in the cross-section, family firms largely outperform widely held corporations. This result holds for founder-controlled firms, professionally managed family firms, but more surprisingly also for firms run by descendants of the founder. We offer explanations for the good performance of family firms. First, we present evidence of a more efficient use of labor in heir-managed firms. These firms pay lower wages, even allowing for skill and age structure. We also find that descendants smooth out industry shocks and manage to honor implicit labor contracts. Second, we present evidence consistent with outside CEOs in family firms making a more parsimonious use of capital. They employ more unskilled, cheap labor, use less capital, pay lower interest rates on debt and initiate more profitable acquisitions. (JEL: G32, L25, J31) (c) 2007 by the European Economic Association.

Suggested Citation

  • David Sraer & David Thesmar, 2007. "Performance and Behavior of Family Firms: Evidence from the French Stock Market," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 5(4), pages 709-751, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:tpr:jeurec:v:5:y:2007:i:4:p:709-751

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    File Function: link to full text
    Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version below or search for a different version of it.

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Reis, Ricardo, 2006. "Inattentive consumers," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(8), pages 1761-1800, November.
    2. Jordi Gali, 1999. "Technology, Employment, and the Business Cycle: Do Technology Shocks Explain Aggregate Fluctuations?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(1), pages 249-271, March.
    3. Michael T. Kiley, 2007. "A Quantitative Comparison of Sticky-Price and Sticky-Information Models of Price Setting," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 39(s1), pages 101-125, February.
    4. N. Gregory Mankiw & Ricardo Reis, 2002. "Sticky Information versus Sticky Prices: A Proposal to Replace the New Keynesian Phillips Curve," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 117(4), pages 1295-1328.
    5. Smets, Frank & Wouters, Raf, 2002. "An estimated stochastic dynamic general equilibrium model of the euro area," Working Paper Series 0171, European Central Bank.
    6. King, Robert G. & Plosser, Charles I. & Rebelo, Sergio T., 1988. "Production, growth and business cycles : II. New directions," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 21(2-3), pages 309-341.
    7. Pengfei Wang & Yi Wen, 2006. "Solving linear difference systems with lagged expectations by a method of undetermined coefficients," Working Papers 2006-003, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
    8. Ricardo Reis, 2006. "Inattentive Producers," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 73(3), pages 793-821.
    9. Sungbae An & Frank Schorfheide, 2007. "Bayesian Analysis of DSGE Models," Econometric Reviews, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 26(2-4), pages 113-172.
    10. Andres, Javier & Lopez-Salido, J. David & Nelson, Edward, 2005. "Sticky-price models and the natural rate hypothesis," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 52(5), pages 1025-1053, July.
    11. Rudebusch, Glenn D., 2002. "Term structure evidence on interest rate smoothing and monetary policy inertia," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 49(6), pages 1161-1187, September.
    12. King, Robert G. & Plosser, Charles I. & Rebelo, Sergio T., 1988. "Production, growth and business cycles : I. The basic neoclassical model," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 21(2-3), pages 195-232.
    13. Ricardo Reis, 2009. "Optimal Monetary Policy Rules in an Estimated Sticky-Information Model," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 1(2), pages 1-28, July.
    14. Christopher D. Carroll, 2003. "Macroeconomic Expectations of Households and Professional Forecasters," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 118(1), pages 269-298.
    15. Coibion Olivier, 2006. "Inflation Inertia in Sticky Information Models," The B.E. Journal of Macroeconomics, De Gruyter, vol. 6(1), pages 1-29, January.
    16. Oleg Korenok & Norman R. Swanson, 2005. "The Incremental Predictive Information Associated with Using Theoretical New Keynesian DSGE Models vs. Simple Linear Econometric Models," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 67(s1), pages 905-930, December.
    17. repec:pri:wwseco:dp232 is not listed on IDEAS
    18. N. Gregory Mankiw & Ricardo Reis, 2006. "Pervasive Stickiness," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(2), pages 164-169, May.
    19. Keen, Benjamin D., 2010. "The Signal Extraction Problem Revisited: A Note On Its Impact On A Model Of Monetary Policy," Macroeconomic Dynamics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 14(03), pages 405-426, June.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D21 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Firm Behavior: Theory
    • G32 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Financing Policy; Financial Risk and Risk Management; Capital and Ownership Structure; Value of Firms; Goodwill
    • L21 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Business Objectives of the Firm


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:tpr:jeurec:v:5:y:2007:i:4:p:709-751. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Kristin Waites). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.