IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Mixing Family With Business: A Study of Thai Business Groups and the Families Behind Them


  • Marianne Bertrand
  • Simon Johnson
  • Krislert Samphantharak
  • Antoinette Schoar


Families run a large fraction of business groups around the world. In this paper, we analyze how the structure of the families behind these business groups affects the groups' organization, governance and performance. To address this question, we constructed a unique data set of family trees and business groups for nearly 100 of the largest business families in Thailand. We find a strong positive association between family size and family involvement in the ownership and control of the family business. The sons of the founders play a central role in both ownership and board membership, especially when the founder of the group is gone. The availability of more sons is also associated with lower firm-level performance, especially when the founder is no longer present. We identify a possible governance channel for this performance effect. Excess control by sons, but not other family members, is associated with lower firm performance. In addition, excess control by sons increases with the number of sons and with the death of the founder. One hypothesis that emerges from our analysis is that part of the decay of family-run groups over time may be due to a dilution of ownership and control across a set of equally powerful descendants of the founder, which creates a race to the bottom in tunneling resources out of the group firms.

Suggested Citation

  • Marianne Bertrand & Simon Johnson & Krislert Samphantharak & Antoinette Schoar, 2008. "Mixing Family With Business: A Study of Thai Business Groups and the Families Behind Them," NBER Working Papers 13738, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:13738
    Note: CF

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Mike Burkart & Fausto Panunzi & Andrei Shleifer, 2003. "Family Firms," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 58(5), pages 2167-2202, October.
    2. Cronqvist, Henrik & Nilsson, Mattias, 2003. "Agency Costs of Controlling Minority Shareholders," Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, Cambridge University Press, vol. 38(04), pages 695-719, December.
    3. Marianne Bertrand & Paras Mehta & Sendhil Mullainathan, 2002. "Ferreting out Tunneling: An Application to Indian Business Groups," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 117(1), pages 121-148.
    4. Tarun Khanna & Krishna Palepu, 2000. "Is Group Affiliation Profitable in Emerging Markets? An Analysis of Diversified Indian Business Groups," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 55(2), pages 867-891, April.
    5. Francesco Caselli & Nicola Gennaioli, 2013. "Dynastic Management," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 51(1), pages 971-996, January.
    6. Bhattacharya, Utpal & Ravikumar, B, 2001. "Capital Markets and the Evolution of Family Businesses," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 74(2), pages 187-219, April.
    7. 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.
    8. Morten Bennedsen & Kasper Meisner Nielsen & Francisco Perez-Gonzalez & Daniel Wolfenzon, 2007. "Inside the Family Firm: The Role of Families in Succession Decisions and Performance," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 122(2), pages 647-691.
    9. 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.
    10. Francisco Pérez-González, 2006. "Inherited Control and Firm Performance," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(5), pages 1559-1588, December.
    11. Randall K. Morck, 2000. "Concentrated Corporate Ownership," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number morc00-1, January.
    12. repec:hrv:faseco:30747162 is not listed on IDEAS
    13. Marianne Bertrand & Antoinette Schoar, 2006. "The Role of Family in Family Firms," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 20(2), pages 73-96, Spring.
    14. 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, June.
    15. Claessens, Stijn & Djankov, Simeon & Lang, Larry H. P., 2000. "The separation of ownership and control in East Asian Corporations," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 58(1-2), pages 81-112.
    16. repec:hrv:faseco:30747196 is not listed on IDEAS
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D13 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Household Production and Intrahouse Allocation
    • G30 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - General
    • J12 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Marriage; Marital Dissolution; Family Structure
    • Z19 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Other

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:13738. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.