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Legal Origin and Firm Size Effects Around the World


  • Bjuggren, Per-Olof

    () (The Ratio Institute)

  • Högberg, Andreas

    () (Jönköpings International Business School)


We propose that the legal origin explanation of differences in financial indicators lacks the ability to satisfyingly describe investment performance and firm size effects. In this paper we investigate the impact of legal origin and firm size on investment performance for 20 111 firms in 58 countries between 2001 and 2010. Anglo Saxon (common law), German, French as well as Scandinavian (civil law) variants of legal systems are covered by the countries included in the study. In addition, we include a category of “old socialist countries”. We find little support for the supposed superiority of common law systems over civil law systems. In fact, the average investor performance is lower in the Anglo Saxon countries than countries with German and Scandinavian legal origin, yet higher than in French legal origin and old socialist countries. Even though limit to firm size is frequently discussed in the theoretical literature there are few empirical studies addressing this issue. In this study we specifically investigate how investment performance is affected by increasing size. We find that irrespective of legal origin a negative impact of firm size appears after a threshold size has been passed.

Suggested Citation

  • Bjuggren, Per-Olof & Högberg, Andreas, 2012. "Legal Origin and Firm Size Effects Around the World," Ratio Working Papers 191, The Ratio Institute.
  • Handle: RePEc:hhs:ratioi:0191

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Andrei Shleifer & Florencio Lopez-de-Silanes & Rafael La Porta, 2008. "The Economic Consequences of Legal Origins," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 46(2), pages 285-332, June.
    2. Williamson, Oliver E, 1988. " Corporate Finance and Corporate Governance," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 43(3), pages 567-591, July.
    3. Bjuggren, Per-Olof & Wiberg, Daniel, 2005. "Industry Specific Effects in Investment Performance and Valuation of Firms - Marginal q in a Stock Market Bubble," Working Paper Series in Economics and Institutions of Innovation 45, Royal Institute of Technology, CESIS - Centre of Excellence for Science and Innovation Studies.
    4. repec:hrv:faseco:30747191 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Mohammad Amin & Jamal Haidar, 2012. "The cost of registering property: does legal origin matter?," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 42(3), pages 1035-1050, June.
    6. Jensen, Michael C. & Meckling, William H., 1976. "Theory of the firm: Managerial behavior, agency costs and ownership structure," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 3(4), pages 305-360, October.
    7. Grossman, Sanford J & Hart, Oliver D, 1986. "The Costs and Benefits of Ownership: A Theory of Vertical and Lateral Integration," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 94(4), pages 691-719, August.
    8. Gugler, Klaus & Mueller, Dennis C. & Yurtoglu, B. Burcin, 2008. "Insider ownership, ownership concentration and investment performance: An international comparison," Journal of Corporate Finance, Elsevier, vol. 14(5), pages 688-705, December.
    9. Rafael La Porta & Florencio Lopez-de-Silanes & Andrei Shleifer & Robert W. Vishny, 1998. "Law and Finance," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 106(6), pages 1113-1155, December.
    10. Oliver E. Williamson, 2000. "The New Institutional Economics: Taking Stock, Looking Ahead," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 38(3), pages 595-613, September.
    11. Gugler, Klaus & Yurtoglu, Burcin B., 2003. "Average q, marginal q, and the relation between ownership and performance," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 78(3), pages 379-384, March.
    12. Per-Olof Bjuggren & Daniel Wiberg, 2008. "Industry specific effects in investment performance and valuation of firms," Empirica, Springer;Austrian Institute for Economic Research;Austrian Economic Association, vol. 35(3), pages 279-291, July.
    13. 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.
    14. Rafael La porta & Florencio Lopez-De-Silanes & Andrei Shleifer & Robert Vishny, 2002. "Investor Protection and Corporate Valuation," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 57(3), pages 1147-1170, June.
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    16. Klaus Gugler & Dennis C. Mueller & B. Burcin Yurtoglu, 2003. "The Impact of Corporate Governance on Investment Returns in Developed and Developing Countries," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 113(491), pages 511-539, November.
    17. repec:hrv:faseco:30747162 is not listed on IDEAS
    18. Sonja Fagernäs & Prabirjit Sarkar & Ajit Singh, 2008. "Legal Origin, Shareholder Protection and the Stock Market: New Challenges from Time Series Analysis," Chapters,in: The Economics of Corporate Governance and Mergers, chapter 2 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    19. Gugler, Klaus & Mueller, Dennis C & Yurtoglu, B Burcin, 2004. "Corporate Governance and the Returns on Investment," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 47(2), pages 589-633, October.
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    More about this item


    Corporate governance; firm size; legal origin; marginal q;

    JEL classification:

    • C23 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Models with Panel Data; Spatio-temporal Models
    • G30 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - General
    • L25 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Firm Performance

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