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

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  • Jeremy Edwards
  • Alfons J. Weichenrieder

Abstract

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. The different 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.

Suggested Citation

  • Jeremy Edwards & Alfons J. Weichenrieder, 2004. "How Weak is the Weakest-Link Principle? On the Measurement of Firm Owners’ Control Rights," CESifo Working Paper Series 1255, CESifo Group Munich.
  • Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_1255
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    File URL: http://www.cesifo-group.de/DocDL/cesifo1_wp1255.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. 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.
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    3. Pohjola, Matti, 1988. " Concentration of Shareholder Voting Power in Finnish Industrial Companies," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 90(2), pages 245-253.
    4. Shleifer, Andrei & Vishny, Robert W, 1997. " A Survey of Corporate Governance," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 52(2), pages 737-783, June.
    5. Davidson, Russell & MacKinnon, James G, 1981. "Several Tests for Model Specification in the Presence of Alternative Hypotheses," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 49(3), pages 781-793, May.
    6. 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.
    7. Alexander Dyck & Luigi Zingales, 2004. "Private Benefits of Control: An International Comparison," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 59(2), pages 537-600, April.
    8. repec:hrv:faseco:30728046 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. 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, May.
    10. repec:hrv:faseco:30747162 is not listed on IDEAS
    11. Jeffrey Zwiebel, 1995. "Block Investment and Partial Benefits of Corporate Control," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 62(2), pages 161-185.
    12. 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.
    13. 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 125-148.
    14. 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.
    15. Dennis Leech, 2002. "An Empirical Comparison of the Performance of Classical Power Indices," Political Studies, Political Studies Association, vol. 50(1), pages 1-22, March.
    16. Rafael La Porta & Florencio Lopez-De-Silanes & Andrei Shleifer, 1999. "Corporate Ownership Around the World," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 54(2), pages 471-517, April.
    17. 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.
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    Cited by:

    1. Jeremy Edwards & Wolfgang Eggert & Alfons J. Weichenrieder, 2006. "The Measurement of Firm Ownership and its Effect on Managerial Pay," CESifo Working Paper Series 1774, CESifo Group Munich.
    2. Franco Mariuzzo & Patrick Paul Walsh & Ciara Whelan, 2004. "EU Merger Control in Differentiated Product Industries," CESifo Working Paper Series 1312, CESifo Group Munich.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    corporate governance; control rights; weakest-link principle.;

    JEL classification:

    • G32 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Financing Policy; Financial Risk and Risk Management; Capital and Ownership Structure; Value of Firms; Goodwill
    • G34 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Mergers; Acquisitions; Restructuring; Corporate Governance

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