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How Weak is the Weakest-Link Principle?On the Measurement of Firm Owners’Control Rights

  • Jeremy Edwards
  • Alfons Weichenrieder

The paper argues that the weakest link principle, which has been widely used as a measure of ultimate owners’ control rights, has a number of serious problems. A theoretically more satisfactory method of measuring control rights, based on voting power indices, is proposed, and the different measures are compared using a sample of large listed German firms. Thedifferent measures produce very different results. But, whichever measure is used, taking account of pyramid ownership structures has little effect on the values of control and cashflow rights. The results also show that neither first-tier nor ultimate control rights measures are adequate on their own, suggesting that further work on ownership structure and pyramids is required to obtain satisfactory measures of large owners’ control rights.

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File URL: http://www.cesifo-group.de/portal/page/portal/DocBase_Content/WP/WP-CESifo_Working_Papers/wp-cesifo-2004/wp-cesifo-2004-08/cesifo1_wp1255.pdf
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Paper provided by CESifo Group Munich in its series CESifo Working Paper Series with number 1255.

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Date of creation: 2004
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Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_1255
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  1. Shleifer, Andrei & Vishny, Robert W, 1997. " A Survey of Corporate Governance," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 52(2), pages 737-83, June.
  2. Dennis Leech, 1988. "The Relationship Between Shareholding Concentration and Shareholder Voting Power in British Companies: A Study of the Application of Power Indices for Simple Games," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 34(4), pages 509-527, April.
  3. Russell Davidson & James G. MacKinnon, 1980. "Several Tests for Model Specification in the Presence of Alternative Hypotheses," Working Papers 378, Queen's University, Department of Economics.
  4. Alexander Dyck & Luigi Zingales, 2002. "Private Benefits of Control: An International Comparison," NBER Working Papers 8711, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Jenkinson, Tim & Ljungqvist, Alexander, 2001. "The role of hostile stakes in German corporate governance," Journal of Corporate Finance, Elsevier, vol. 7(4), pages 397-446, December.
  6. Leech, D., 2000. "An Empirical Comparison of the Performance of Classical Power Indices," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 563, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
  7. Rafael La Porta & Florencio Lopez-de-Silanes & Andrei Shleifer, 1998. "Corporate Ownership Around the World," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1840, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  8. Zingales, Luigi, 1994. "The Value of the Voting Right: A Study of the Milan Stock Exchange Experience," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 7(1), pages 125-48.
  9. Larry H. P. Lang & Mara Faccio & Leslie Young, 2001. "Dividends and Expropriation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(1), pages 54-78, March.
  10. 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.
  11. Zwiebel, Jeffrey, 1995. "Block Investment and Partial Benefits of Corporate Control," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 62(2), pages 161-85, April.
  12. Barclay, Michael J. & Holderness, Clifford G., 1989. "Private benefits from control of public corporations," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 25(2), pages 371-395, December.
  13. 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.
  14. Stijn Claessens & Simeon Djankov & Joseph P. H. Fan & Larry H. P. Lang, 2002. "Disentangling the Incentive and Entrenchment Effects of Large Shareholdings," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 57(6), pages 2741-2771, December.
  15. Bergstrom, Clas & Rydqvist, Kristian, 1990. "Ownership of equity in dual-class firms," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 14(2-3), pages 255-269, August.
  16. Nenova, Tatiana, 2003. "The value of corporate voting rights and control: A cross-country analysis," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(3), pages 325-351, June.
  17. Jeremy S. S. Edwards & Alfons J. Weichenrieder, 2004. "Ownership Concentration and Share Valuation," German Economic Review, Verein für Socialpolitik, vol. 5(2), pages 143-171, 05.
  18. Pohjola, Matti, 1988. " Concentration of Shareholder Voting Power in Finnish Industrial Companies," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 90(2), pages 245-53.
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