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One Share - One Vote: The Theory

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  • Burkart, Mike

    () (Stockholm School of Economics)

  • Lee, Samuel

    () (Stockholm School of Economics)

Abstract

The impact of separating cash flow and votes depends on the ownership structure. In widely held firms, one share - one vote is in general not optimal. While it ensures an efficient outcome in bidding contests, dual-class shares mitigate the free-rider problem, thereby promoting takeovers. In the presence of a controlling shareholder, one share - one vote promotes value-increasing control transfers and deters value-decreasing control transfers more effectively than any other vote allocation. Moreover, leveraging the insider's voting power aggravates agency conflicts because it protects her from the takeover threat and provides less alignment with other shareholders. Even so, minority shareholder protection is not a compelling argument for regulatory intervention, as rational investors anticipate the insider's opportunism. Rather, the rationale for mandating one share – one vote must be to disempower controlling minority shareholders in order to promote value-increasing takeovers. As this policy tends to empower managers vis-a-vis shareholders, it is an open question whether it would improve the quality of corporate governance, notably in systems built around large active owners. The verdict in the case of depositary certificates, priority shares, voting and ownership ceilings is less I ambiguous, since they insulate managers from both takeovers and effective shareholder monitoring.

Suggested Citation

  • Burkart, Mike & Lee, Samuel, 2007. "One Share - One Vote: The Theory," SIFR Research Report Series 57, Institute for Financial Research.
  • Handle: RePEc:hhs:sifrwp:0057
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    1. Lauterbach, Beni & Yafeh, Yishay, 2009. "Long Term Changes in Voting Power and Control Structure following the Unification of Dual Class Shares," CEPR Discussion Papers 7287, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    2. Cristina Mabel Scherrer & Marcelo Fernandes, 2016. "Disentangling the Effect of Private and Public Cash Flows on Firm Value," Working Papers 800, Queen Mary University of London, School of Economics and Finance.
    3. Ødegaard, Bernt Arne, 2009. "The diversification cost of large, concentrated equity stakes. How big is it? Is it justified?," Finance Research Letters, Elsevier, vol. 6(2), pages 56-72, June.
    4. Marc Levy & Ariane Szafarz, 2017. "Cross-Ownership: A Device for Management Entrenchment?," Review of Finance, European Finance Association, vol. 21(4), pages 1675-1699.
    5. Ghosh, Chinmoy & Hilliard, James & Petrova, Milena & Phani, B.V., 2016. "Economic consequences of deregulation: Evidence from the removal of voting cap in Indian banks," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 72(S), pages 19-38.
    6. Henrekson, Magnus & Jakobsson, Ulf, 2011. "The Swedish Corporate Control Model: Convergence, Persistence or Decline?," Working Paper Series 857, Research Institute of Industrial Economics.
    7. Muravyev, Alexander, 2009. "Investor Protection and the Value of Shares: Evidence from Statutory Rules Governing Variations of Shareholders' Class Rights in Russia," IZA Discussion Papers 4669, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    8. Lauterbach, Beni & Pajuste, Anete, 2015. "The long-term valuation effects of voluntary dual class share unifications," Journal of Corporate Finance, Elsevier, vol. 31(C), pages 171-185.
    9. Poulsen, Thomas, 2012. "Disentangling disproportionality," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 117(3), pages 743-745.
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    11. Stephan Nüesch, 2016. "Dual-class shares, external financing needs, and firm performance," Journal of Management & Governance, Springer;Accademia Italiana di Economia Aziendale (AIDEA), vol. 20(3), pages 525-551, September.
    12. Bortolon, Patrícia M. & Câmara Leal, Ricardo P., 2014. "Dual-class unifications and corporate governance in Brazil," Emerging Markets Review, Elsevier, vol. 20(C), pages 89-108.
    13. Jean-Luc Gaffard & Maurizio Iacopetta, 2015. "On the search to “recapture the industrial spirit of capitalism”: From patient shareholders to shared governance," Sciences Po publications info:hdl:2441/1ndndds0v79, Sciences Po.
    14. Howard Bodenhorn, 2012. "Voting Rights, Share Concentration, and Leverage at Nineteenth-Century US Banks," NBER Working Papers 17808, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    15. Alexander Muravyev, 2009. "Investor Protection and Share Prices: Evidence from Statutory Rules Governing Variations of Shareholders' Class Rights in Russia," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 865, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
    16. Arugaslan, Onur & Cook, Douglas O. & Kieschnick, Robert, 2010. "On the decision to go public with dual class stock," Journal of Corporate Finance, Elsevier, vol. 16(2), pages 170-181, April.
    17. Eklund, Johan E, 2009. "One Share – One Vote: new evidence from the Nordic countries," Working Paper Series in Economics and Institutions of Innovation 168, Royal Institute of Technology, CESIS - Centre of Excellence for Science and Innovation Studies.
    18. Lauterbach, Beni & Yafeh, Yishay, 2011. "Long term changes in voting power and control structure following the unification of dual class shares," Journal of Corporate Finance, Elsevier, vol. 17(2), pages 215-228, April.
    19. Belkhir, Mohamed & Boubaker, Sabri & Derouiche, Imen, 2014. "Control–ownership wedge, board of directors, and the value of excess cash," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 39(C), pages 110-122.
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    21. Yishay Yafeh & Beni Lauterbach, 2009. "Long Term Changes in Voting Power and Control Structure following the Unification of Dual Class Shares," Working Papers 2009.112, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
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    23. Sara Saggese, 2016. "Examining the Relationship between Disproportional Ownership Mechanisms and Company Performance: An Empirical Research," International Business Research, Canadian Center of Science and Education, vol. 9(11), pages 70-82, November.
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    25. Sakineh Darvishzadeh & Zeinolabedin Sadeghi & Ahmad Khodamipour, 2013. "Investigation of the Relationship between Ownership–Control Discrepancy and Dividend Policy in Tehran Stock Exchange," International Journal of Academic Research in Accounting, Finance and Management Sciences, Human Resource Management Academic Research Society, International Journal of Academic Research in Accounting, Finance and Management Sciences, vol. 3(3), pages 266-274, July.

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    Keywords

    Security-voting structure; market for corporate control; controlling minority shareholders;

    JEL classification:

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

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