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Corporate ownership structure and performance in Europe


  • Grant, Jeremy
  • Kirchmaier, Thomas


In this paper, we show that ownership structures vary considerably across Europe, and that the dominant form of ownership is not necessarily the most efficient one. These findings are in contradiction to similar research based on US samples. The results also demonstrate that firms without a dominant shareholder tend to outperform their country peer groups. We base our analysis on a new and unique dataset of uniform ownership data of the largest 100 firms in the five major European economies. We quantify the differences in ownership by comparing three distinct ownership structures of firms and relating them to performance. For the first time we employ a Hodrick-Prescott Filter, a methodology widely used in macroeconomics to isolate the trend growth components from cyclical fluctuations, to estimate the share price trend of each firm. We take this trend as a good indirect indicator of the quality of governance.

Suggested Citation

  • Grant, Jeremy & Kirchmaier, Thomas, 2004. "Corporate ownership structure and performance in Europe," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 19960, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  • Handle: RePEc:ehl:lserod:19960

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Stoll, Hans R. & Whaley, Robert E., 1983. "Transaction costs and the small firm effect," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 12(1), pages 57-79, June.
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    5. La Porta, Rafael & Florencio Lopez-de-Silanes & Andrei Shleifer & Robert W. Vishny, 1997. " Legal Determinants of External Finance," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 52(3), pages 1131-1150, July.
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    7. Acemoglu, Daron & Robinson, James A., 2000. "Democratization or repression?," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 44(4-6), pages 683-693, May.
    8. Shleifer, Andrei & Vishny, Robert W, 1997. " A Survey of Corporate Governance," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 52(2), pages 737-783, June.
    9. Amihud, Yakov & Mendelson, Haim, 1986. "Asset pricing and the bid-ask spread," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(2), pages 223-249, December.
    10. 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.
    11. Demsetz, Harold & Lehn, Kenneth, 1985. "The Structure of Corporate Ownership: Causes and Consequences," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 93(6), pages 1155-1177, December.
    12. Lucian Arye Bebchuk, 1999. "A Rent-Protection Theory of Corporate Ownership and Control," NBER Working Papers 7203, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    14. Roll, Richard, 1983. "On computing mean returns and the small firm premium," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 12(3), pages 371-386, November.
    15. Bengt Holmstrom & Steven N. Kaplan, 2001. "Corporate Governance and Merger Activity in the United States: Making Sense of the 1980s and 1990s," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 15(2), pages 121-144, Spring.
    16. Demsetz, Harold & Villalonga, Belen, 2001. "Ownership structure and corporate performance," Journal of Corporate Finance, Elsevier, vol. 7(3), pages 209-233, September.
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    19. 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.
    20. Marco Becht & Fabrizio Barca, 2001. "The control of corporate Europe," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/13302, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
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    Cited by:

    1. Abdallah, Abed Al-Nasser & Ismail, Ahmad K., 2017. "Corporate governance practices, ownership structure, and corporate performance in the GCC countries," Journal of International Financial Markets, Institutions and Money, Elsevier, vol. 46(C), pages 98-115.
    2. repec:zbw:iamost:85 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Maria Consuelo Pucheta-Martínez & Cristina de Fuentes, 2007. "The Impact of Audit Committee Characteristics on the Enhancement of the Quality of Financial Reporting: an empirical study in the Spanish context," Corporate Governance: An International Review, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 15(6), pages 1394-1412, November.

    More about this item


    Corporate governance; ownership structures; performance; Europe;

    JEL classification:

    • G32 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Financing Policy; Financial Risk and Risk Management; Capital and Ownership Structure; Value of Firms; Goodwill
    • G38 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Government Policy and Regulation
    • G34 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Mergers; Acquisitions; Restructuring; Corporate Governance


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