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Corporate Ownership in France: The Importance of History

  • Antoin E. Murphy
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    This paper attempts to show the importance of history in influencing the structure of corporate ownership in France. The strong concentration of family ownership in France is traced to historical weaknesses in the money and capital markets that forced families to have recourse to self-financing. The weaknesses in the money and capital markets were greatly influenced by two eighteenth century financial traumas arising from John Law's Mississippi System (1716-20) and the financing of the French Revolution through the issue of the assignats in the 1790s.These financial traumas delayed significantly the emergence of banks and the capital market. Further historical factors influencing French corporate ownership were the changes in the inheritance law system at the start of the nineteenth century and, more recently, the emphasis on a pay-as-you-go pension system.

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    File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w10716.pdf
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    Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 10716.

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    Date of creation: Aug 2004
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    Publication status: published as Morck, Randall K. (ed.) A History of Corporate Governance around the World: Family Business Groups to Professional Managers A National Bureau of Economic Research Conference Report. Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press, 2005.
    Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:10716
    Note: CF
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    1. Ronald C. Anderson & David M. Reeb, 2003. "Founding-Family Ownership and Firm Performance: Evidence from the S&P 500," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 58(3), pages 1301-1327, 06.
    2. White, Eugene Nelson, 1989. "Was There a Solution to the Ancien RĂ©gime's Financial Dilemma?," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 49(03), pages 545-568, September.
    3. David Sraer & David Thesmar, 2004. "Performance and Behavior of Family Firms : Evidence from the French Stock Market," Working Papers 2004-24, Centre de Recherche en Economie et Statistique.
    4. Murphy, Antoin E., 1997. "John Law: Economic Theorist and Policy-maker," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198286493.
    5. Paul M. Healy & Krishna G. Palepu, 2003. "The Fall of Enron," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 17(2), pages 3-26, Spring.
    6. Marco Becht & Fabrizio Barca, 2001. "The control of corporate Europe," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/13302, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
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